Thornton Budgens in north London is the first British supermarket to introduce an entirely plastic-free zone.
According to the Telegraph, the supermarket in Belsize Park intends to go virtually plastic-free in the next three years and has already removed plastic from more than 1,700 product lines over the past ten weeks.
Andrew Thornton, the owner of the Budgen’s franchise, hopes that the store’s move will encourage other supermarkets in the country to follow suit. “We’re hoping that what we’re doing here will challenge the likes of Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and others,” he said. “As soon as one of them turns round to the big producers such as Coca-cola, Heinz, or Unilever and says ‘unless you stop sending us products in plastic, we’re not going to stock them,’ change will come very quickly.”
Since the release of the David Attenborough-narrated BBC documentary Blue Planet II – which showed the havoc that plastic causes for our oceans and its sealife – plastic pollution has remained high on the public agenda, as well as on that of many businesses and governments.
Earlier this year, the UK Government pledged to spend £6.14 million in a bid to end marine plastic pollution.
“[Plastic pollution is] one of the most significant environmental challenges facing the world today,” said the UK Prime Minister Theresa May. “It is vital that we tackle this issue, so that future generations can enjoy a natural environment that is healthier than we currently find it.”
However, according to Sian Sutherland, the co-founder of the campaign group Plastic Planet – which is working closely with Budgens to help with its transition away from plastic – major businesses are not moving fast enough.
“It’s the big brands that are like snails with their pace of change,” she noted. “What we are doing is an open door for new packaging technology.”
“All the other supermarkets can look and learn from what we’re doing,” she continued. “We have converted 1,700 product lines in just ten weeks, but that’s just the beginning. The issue of plastic is one that can no longer be ignored.”
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