Is plastic-free shopping the way of the future?

Is plastic-free shopping the way of the future?



A world first has debuted in the Netherlands – a plastic-free shopping aisle within a supermarket. Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza has put around 700 plastic-free products on the shelves for purchase at its Jan Pieter Heijestraat branch.

The products include meat, rice, dairy, snacks as well as fresh fruit and vegetables, which are packaged in compostable materials or glass, metal and cardboard.

Ekoplaza Chief Executive Erik Does said plastic-free aisles are an important step to take towards a brighter future.

“We know that our customers are sick to death of products laden in layer after layer of thick plastic packaging,” Does said.

According to, Ekoplaza has plans to roll out similar aisles across its 74 stores by the end of 2018. Ekoplaza has also created a ‘plastic-free’ shopping option for their online shopping service.

And closer to home, a new initiative aimed at reducing and ultimately eliminating single-use plastic bags and other plastic waste from New Zealand’s environment, has just launched.

New campaign in NZ

The Bags Not campaign, which encourages Kiwis to say ‘Bags Not’ to plastic bags and supports them to change their single-use habits, has already received support from New World and ecostore.

Artist Dick Frizzell supports the new initiative.

Steve Bayliss, GM Group Marketing Foodstuffs NZ Ltd says: “New World is committed to getting rid of single-use plastic bags by 2018, and to do this we’re providing the market with long-life reusable bags, expanding soft plastics recycling, and looking for alternatives for our customers. But, that’s the easy part – we need to help change the habit of a lifetime.”

Bayliss says it’s important to work with New Zealanders to motivate behaviour change. A key part of this is encouraging Kiwis to revisit their use of plastic bags. “Bags Not is challenging retailers to take up the call and look at the alternatives they can offer the customer”, says Bayliss.

Riley Elliott a.k.a the Shark Man, actor Pua Magasiva, artist Dick Frizzell and writer and TV presenter, Jaquie Brown have all got behind the initiative.

Go Well Consulting and communications agency, Bcg2 are the brains behind ‘Bags Not’. Nick Morrison from Go Well Consulting says, “Currently, Kiwis use around 1.6 Billion single-use plastic bags every year. It will take hundreds to thousands of years for each one of those bags to degrade, creating microplastics as they do.

“In the meantime this has a devastating effect on ecosystems, particularly marine environments. There are relatively simple solutions available, if every New Zealander is prepared to take ownership of the problem.”

The Bags Not website provides useful information, tips and life hacks to help reduce Kiwis’ reliance on single-use plastic bags.

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