Supermarket Launches First Plastic-Free Aisle

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. break new ground / breɪk noo, nyu graʊnd / (idiom) – to do something that has never been done before

    This research seeks to break new ground by discovering ways to solve waste problems.

  2. compostable / kɒmˈpɒstəbəl / (adj) – referring to something that can be used to enhance garden soil

    Our product’s packaging is made of compostable materials like wood pulp.

  3. originate / əˈrɪdʒ əˌneɪt / (v) – to create or conceptualize something

    The administrative department originated a new policy on attendance.

  4. take steps / teɪk stɛps / (idiom) – to do actions to achieve a goal

    The local government took steps to reduce plastic waste in the city.

  5. incinerate / ɪnˈsɪn əˌreɪt / (v) – to burn something

    It is illegal to incinerate hazardous wastes.


Read the text below.

A supermarket in the Netherlands has recently created and launched the world’s first plastic-free aisle.

Supermarket chain Ekoplaza has broken new ground in the fight against plastic pollution by putting up a plastic-free aisle in one of its stores in Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ capital. The packaging of around 700 products in the said aisle is made of compostable materials, glasses, cardboard, and the like. Ekoplaza plans to have a plastic-free aisle in its 74 branches within this year.

Ekoplaza’s initiative is part of A Plastic-Free Aisle campaign, which was originated by the environmental group named A Plastic Planet. With this campaign, A Plastic Planet hopes to lessen plastic usage and its impact on the environment. The group also hopes that other supermarkets will follow suit.

Another supermarket chain is also taking steps to reduce the amount of plastic waste it generates. Iceland, a British supermarket, plans to eliminate the use of plastic packaging in its own products by the end of 2023. Instead of plastic, the company will use paper-based packaging for products like ready-to-eat meals and fruits.

Initiatives to reduce plastic production are important because the amount of plastic waste worldwide is continuously increasing. To make matters worse, plastic takes over 400 years to naturally decompose.

According to a study published in the journal Science Advances in 2017, the world has accumulated a total of 6,300 metric tons of plastic waste as of 2015. Of this amount, only 9% was recycled, 12% was incinerated, and 79% was left unprocessed in landfills and other places.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think having plastic-free aisles is enough to encourage people to use less plastic? Why or why not?
• What are other ways to reduce plastic waste?

Discussion B

• If you were to create an environmental campaign, what would it be? Give details.
• How will this campaign help protect the environment?