Plastic has enjoyed its time to shine as a packaging agent and general household material, but it is now coming under fire for its less-than-stellar environmental and health implications. While many industry leaders have been working to combat the effects of plastic by developing BPA-free material and cutting down on the percent of plastic used per product, Ekoplaza Lab in Amsterdam has taken the fight against plastic to an entirely new level.
Located next to a traditional Ekoplaza organic supermarket in the Netherlands, the Ekoplaza Lab, as the name suggests, is an experiment taking on unexplored territory. The Lab is marking the beginning of a movement toward plastic-free grocery store packaging, and Ekoplaza hopes to be the first grocer to sustain an entire plastic-free aisle in every store nationwide.
Plastic Alternatives in Ekoplaza Lab
Rather than merely eliminating plastic materials, the Ekoplaza lab is educating consumers and offering specific information about each plastic alternative. Main alternatives include glass, paper, aluminum, and bio-materials. Glass is described as a strong material capable of preserving product quality and being recycled infinitely, and aluminum is advertised as a lightweight material that also has infinite recyclability. Biomaterials, meanwhile, include any packaging made from plant fibers, wood pulp, cellulose, or lactic acid.
Will It Work?
Creating a plastics-free grocery aisle is an admirable feat that leads to the question of whether it can be expanded to change the way that all grocery shopping occurs. The short answer is that plastics are here to stay for the time being; the industrial composting infrastructure is far less developed than the recycling infrastructure worldwide, and great strides need to be made to accommodate plastic alternatives.
Still, it’s worth taking a look at your own packaging habits and considering whether plastics could be replaced in certain ways to make your products more sustainable.