What’s the alternative to plastic packaging?

Welcome to the worlds first plastic-free supermarket aisle in the Neatherlands.Launched in Amsterdam, the aisle has more than 700 plastic-free products including meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, yogurt, snacks, fresh fruit and vegetables. Products are packed in paper, metal, glass and plastic alternatives made of compostable materials, such as plant cellulose, wood pulp, algae, grass, cornstarch, shrimp shells, etc. These look like plastic, but are considered different because they are not not made entirely from fossil fuels and are biodegradable.The most popular is Polylactic acid (PLA), a plastic substitute made from fermented plant starch (usually corn) which is quickly becoming a popular alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics. But it still takes a long time to biodegrade. Although it will biodegrade in 3 weeks in an industrial composting unit, it can take up to 100 years in regular composting. The message is still to avoid single use plastics of any kind where possible but at least this is a step in the right direction. UK supermarkets are a major source of plastic waste, producing 1m tonnes a year. A recent pol showed that 91% of UK shoppers backed the idea of a plastic free aisle- we want to make the change, we just want shops to make it easy for us! And surely shops what to make it easy for us to shop! Read more about the plastic free shopping experience in this article from the Guardian and find out why the alternatives still need some work here. Sarah x

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