Britain’s First Plastic Free Supermarket opens in London

One hundred and fifty thousand tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the oceans every year, according to the European Union. Supermarkets produce a huge amount of waste with unnecessary packaging. However, some chains have taken small steps towards reducing their impact on the planet such as Morrisons, which recently reintroduced paper grocery bags in the vegetable aisle for customers to use for their fresh produce.

But one supermarket in Belsize Park in North London has taken it one step further by ditching plastic and packaging in its mission to become Britain’s first zero-waste supermarket.

Thornton’s Budgens, a community supermarket in Belsize Park, is the first plastic free supermarket in the UK that launched plastic-free zones and has pledged to become virtually plastic-free by 2021.

First Plastic Free Supermarket

Over the past 10 weeks, Thornton Budgens who owns the Budgens franchise, has already converted over 1,700 product lines to non-plastic packaging on its journey to make the store virtually plastic free within three years.

Andrew Thornton hopes that this move would challenge other supermarket chains such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco to fight against plastic and turn their store in plastic free supermarkets. He also believes that as soon as all the supermarkets will tell the big producers such as Coca-Cola or Heinz to stop sending their products in plastic, the change will come very quickly.

The innovations of the Plastic Free Supermarket

Different kind of innovations concern the packaging of the products. In particular, self-packed product includes fish which was previously wrapped in paper and place in a plastic bag. Bread it bakes itself or buys from artisan bakers used to go in a bag with clear film. It will now place these in a mixture of paper and compostable clear bags. It has been experimenting with semi-transparent wax paper for cheese, that it buys in big blocks and used to wrap in clingfilm.

Other innovations include netting made of beech for some of its produce. It is claiming plastic-free on packaging that is at least 99% plastic free, such as glass bottles that have plastic labels or a seal in the lid.


Whilst the supermarket is ditching the plastic, it is not going zero-waste just yet as for many products grocery bags made from cellulose, a structural component of the cell walls of green plants, have replaced plastic bags in the store.

Vegan Zero Waste Store

Whilst the supermarket might be keen to reduce the amount of plastic heading to landfill, it is not a dedicated vegan store as it will still be selling meat, eggs and dairy products. Thankfully, a zero-waste vegan store, Hetu, is on a mission to help Londoners to live a more ethical and sustainable lifestyle in Clapham Junction, so be sure to check it out.

We hope you liked the article and we recommend you to read our blog post about the Eco-Friendly Packaging

Written by Sabrina Licata from Attitude Organic