We are unnecessarily wrapping our Earth in plastic. Why?
— by Hope McKenzie —
The movement to end our love affair with plastic took a promising step forward last month.
Ekoplaza, a Dutch supermarket chain, opened a first-of-its-kind, plastic-free aisle in its Amsterdam branch, dedicating the space to over 700 plastic-free items. The aisle will be a testing ground for new compostable bio-materials, as well as traditional packaging such as glass, metal and cardboard.
Currently, the grocer industry accounts for more than 40% of all plastic packaging, which means the majority of our food is being stored in a product not only created from petroleum, but also one with a lifetime that stretches far beyond our own. Plastic pollution is now so widespread that scientists warn it risks permanent contamination of the natural world. According to recent media reports, microplastics have been found in over 90% of bottled waters (link); in 84% of tap water (link) and are being consumed by young fish, resulting in making them smaller, slower and less intelligent than their peers (link).
One good deed we can do is request a plastic-free aisle from our local grocer. By utilizing bio-materials, glass and traditional packaging, we can step beyond the toxic repercussions of using long-lived plastic to contain our short-lived food—and further feed the movement to end the use of plastic as our go-to packaging, one aisle at a time. They’ve done it in Holland
Hope McKenzie is Earthfire’s Assistant Director. A writer and an advocate for the preservation of wildlife and wild lands, she has joined forces with Earthfire to help create a sustainable future for all living beings.