In the Netherlands, Ekoplaza will roll out plastic-free aisles across its 74 branches by the end of this year.
But does “plastic free” incorporate the entire supply chain? Are the pallets that the goods are loaded on shrink wrapped to move them from factory to warehouse, and from warehouse to supermarket? What about the glass, metal and cardboard that food is packaged in? Is it all manufactured and transported sans plastic? Has anyone worked out whether Ekoplaza’s shift to non-plastic packaging for supermarket shelf items might entail the use of more plastic throughout the supply chain?
Or is the whole thing basically a marketing ploy, and really not much better than someone removing all plastic from packaging as they stack the shelves?
Paint me cynical, but nice sounding half measures have the wonderful ability to lull us into a space where we think something worthwhile is being done, when really, nothing much beyond “business as usual” is going on…with the caveat that pressure to instigate meaningful change has been dampened.
I’ve worked in a few factories in my time, and am aware that the use of extraneous plastic in factory settings (including, or maybe even particularly in food manufacturing) is enormous. And so the percentage of plastic present at the point of sale is arguably the merest tip of a hulking berg of shit.
So yes, nice to buy “plastic free”, and if vacuous virtue is our bag (paper, hemp, cotton or leather of course) then my, what a wonderful world.