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Plastic Free Aisle arrives in London for global summit

12 September 2018

The Packaging Innovations 2018 conference will play host to the Aisle in a move that could signal a major shift towards plastic-free shopping across Britain and Europe.

Luc Gillard

The brainchild of international environmental campaign group A Plastic Planet, the Aisle will show tangible examples of everyday items that are packaged without plastic. 

The Aisle will showcase a host of products packaged exclusively in plastic-free materials.   

Products on show will include tea, coffee, chocolate, dairy, bread and fresh meat wrapped in innovative materials such as wood, cellulose and plant pulp, compostable biomaterials as well as in traditional materials such as glass, metal and cartonboard. 

Displayed on the products will be A Plastic Planet’s Plastic Free Consumer Trust Mark, a front of pack symbol that instantly informs customers at the point of purchase that packaging is plastic-free. 

The Trust Mark is set to be adopted by influential global brands, following on from its adoption by supermarket chains Iceland and Ekoplaza earlier this year. 

Campaigners say Plastic Free Aisles represent the future of food and drink retail. Prime Minister Theresa May backed the initiative in her first major speech on the environment earlier this year. 

In February this year A Plastic Planet, working with Dutch retailer Ekoplaza, introduced the world’s first Plastic Free Aisle in an Amsterdam store, featuring 700 plastic-free products. The Aisle has since grown to almost 2,000 products and been rolled out in all 74 Ekoplaza stores. 

Luc Gillard

Sian Sutherland, A Plastic Planet co-founder, said: “So much of the debate on plastic pollution scandalously blames the consumer for buying food and drink products laden in plastic. 

“The reality is that shoppers buy what they are sold. Despite the fact the public have been highly vocal about wanting to change, they are still given little choice. Almost all retailers continue to use indestructible plastic packaging; useful for days, lasting for centuries. A Plastic Free Aisle changes all that. 

“Showcasing the Aisle here in London is another step in proving to major brands that plastic-free packaging is possible and it is time they showed leadership in being part of the solution rather than part of the problem. 

“40 percent of all plastic is used just for packaging. Reducing this will have a massively positive impact on our oceans, our soil and on the health of future generations. We implore industry to wake up; acknowledge that recycling isn’t the answer and start to turn off the plastic tap.” 

Frederikke Magnussen, A Plastic Planet co-founder, said: “Plastic Free Aisles are all about igniting and inspiring the world to turn off the plastic tap once and for all. 

“So far shoppers have been granted little choice by retailers punch drunk on the empty highs of throwaway packaging. 

“Together we can realise a positive, plastic-free vision of the future for the benefit of generations to come.”

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