This past Wednesday a new location of the grocery chain Ekoplaza opened up in Amsterdam. According to the Washington Post, it sounds like a pretty normal supermarket, except for one key difference: There's an entire aisle that is plastic-free. Instead, the close-to-700 items that are displayed in that aisle are stored in metal, plastic, cardboard, and compostable materials. In this aisle you'll find everything from vegetables and yogurt to meat and tea.
The grocer decided that the idea of making an entire store plastic-free might be difficult for people, but if they introduced it as a single aisle it might be easier for people to get into the swing of things. I find this particularly helpful, as I regularly forget to bring my reusable bags to my local Costco, and find the idea of plastic-free shopping a little daunting. But I want to get to a place that this becomes intuitive, and this single aisle seems like a great place to start.
The idea of limited-waste grocery stores are nothing new, of course. As Refinery29 points out, places like The Fillery in Brooklyn and In.gredients in Austin promote limited waste and sell things in bulk. But these places aren't as common as, say, Trader Joe's. So, it's exciting to see a larger chain in Europe take this new initiative.
Ekoplaza wants to institute a plastic-free aisle in every one of its 74 stores by the end of 2018. Until this comes to the United States, there are smaller changes we can make when we shop, like remembering to bring reusable bags and using fewer plastic produce bags.
Would you shop at Ekoplaza?