Plastic pollution is an increasingly severe problem. Recently we reported that two huge garbage patches have now been discovered in the Arctic Ocean, and even though we now know of caterpillars that eat plastic, the problem has no end in sight.
In total, 300 million tons of plastic is produced each year and only 12% of it can be recycled. Much of this plastic ends up in the ocean where it poisons the environment.
Supermarkets around the world are responding to the challenge of plastic pollution by creating plastic-free stores. A Plastic Planet, an environmental organization in Britain, is pressuring the nation’s markets to create plastic free aisles that allow people the ability to shop and avoid plastic completely.
The plastic in these aisles would be replaced by paper, cloth, and biodegradable plastic-like materials.
Already, the government is considering adding a 20p deposit on plastic bottles that can be claimed when they’re recycled and a 5p charge on plastic bags has been in effect since 2015. While these are effective ways at changing consumer habits, it’s not enough.
“There is a growing realisation that plastic is not disposable and is harming our planet, yet the maddening thing is that it’s virtually impossible to buy food without packaging,” says Sian Sutherland, one of the trustees of the Plastic Oceans Foundation.
“We have more choice than ever for everything. There are countless gluten-free, organic or kosha aisles, and yet we have absolutely no choice about buying food that is packaged in plastic.”
“It is a double whammy problem because not only does it make us feel guilty about all this packaging we are using, but science is starting to show us that wrapping food in plastic can bring health problems.”
Supermarkets are already responding to the idea of plastic-free aisles. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose have all responded to the proposals and are taking it into consideration.