The zero waste movement is growing and with the recent return to screens of everyone’s favourite ocean exploration, Blue Planet II, more people are talking about the impact of waste packaging.

With more consumers asking the big questions of household names, many companies and initiatives are taking the opportunity to pave the way for a new, more sustainable way forward.

For those moving towards a more waste conscious lifestyle there are now shops, food brands and eateries with sustainable packaging at their core.

Shopping zero packaging

Plastic packaging in our supermarkets is rife and at times, ludicrous (halved avos in trays wrapped in plastic anyone?).

Fortunately there are some new – eco conscious – superheroes on the block: London has Bulk Market, Kent has Grain Grocer and Brighton has HisBe. Bulk Market is London’s first plastic free shop where you can take your own jars and tubs to restock your dry goods, pick up your veggies and even buy ingredients to make your own beauty products.

Grain Grocer is a natural food store and café run by zero waste environmentalists. And HisBe is a Brighton based social enterprise where you can stock up on everything from pulses to polenta using their wholefoods dispensers.

Sustainably packaged food products

According to plastic free packaging champions, Snact, there’s still a lot of work to be done in this arena: when they first launched their range, it was impossible to find a plastic free packaging solution so they launched with plastic whilst searching for a suitable option to switch to.

That search took 9 months. It turns out that the price difference between traditional plastic and compostable film was just 1p for Snact and yet there are companies still claiming that’s too much of a cost to make the switch.

Of course, courtesy of economies of scale, for bigger companies it would be much cheaper – essentially the same price as traditional plastic.

In terms of their inspiration to keep pushing for #plasticfreeaisles, Snact share:

“Knowing that oceans will have more plastic than fish in the see by 2050 or that 90% of turtles have plastics in them or that more fish have microplastics. It’s everywhere. It’s in our food chain. It’s in us. “

Aside from consumers awareness, there are challenges for food brands looking to go this way as, in the current set up, Snact have experienced longer lead times and concerns over a lack of alternatives if things go wrong.

Riverford Organics are also champions of reducing plastics, and recently shared a blog about the challenges they face as a business and the complexities of switching from plastics to other mediums.

Amongst these is their argument that, on CO2 emissions alone, plastic bags may be better for the environment than paper.

Fortunately for emerging environmentally conscious food brands, the likes of Snact and Riverford have done so much of the trial and error and research that other companies should benefit in the future.


Plastic free eateries

More and more places are featuring compostable take away pots etc such as those from Vegware but we’d always like to see things leap a little further.

Fortunately, it looks as though our wishes shall be fulfilled as London is set to have its first Zero Plastic Café, courtesy of Peardrop London (13 Floral Street, Covent Garden), from Monday 20th November. This pop up is in collaboration with Rake’s Progress magazine, an urban gardening magazine who will be filling the space up with art, photography and flowers.

Hopefully more companies and initiatives continue to follow the path beaten out by the likes of Bulk Market, Snact and Peardrop and #plasticfreeaisles becomes more of an accepted reality than an exception.