A plastic-free supermarket has opened today in Birmingham.
The Clean Kilo, which claims it is the first such supermarket in the city, offers plastic-free food products in addition to household, baking and cleaning products. Customers can bring their own reusable bags and containers to shop at the Digbeth-based store.
The store aims to target the massive waste problem that unnecessary plastic wrappers, bottles and tubs create. Local scientist and founder of The Clean Kilo, Tom Pell, said the store was “one small step” toward reducing plastic packaging waste.
According to the firm’s website, only 50% of plastic in Britain ends up being recycled, leaving the other half to decompose between the 450-1,000 years it takes. The website emphasises that plastic ends up in the ocean “easily ingested by fish and marine birds”, meaning customers’ dinner plates contain plastic toxins.
Pell, who is a PhD chemist originally from Lichfield, had lived in Australia for four years and noticed the concept of buying bulk in regular supermarkets. He has said Birmingham is “in desperate need of this kind of thing”.
Pell added in the store’s website: “Through my extensive background in chemistry I am aware that there is currently no viable scientific solution to remove plastic from the ocean, there is only one realistic solution: TO REDUCE THE NEED FOR SINGLE-USE PLASTICS. This doesn’t just mean plastic cutlery or coffee cups, but also the plastic surrounding almost every product you buy from a supermarket.
“I am opening a zero waste supermarket where customers can buy food, drink, toiletries and cleaning products by weight (although this list will grow as we develop). All products will be dispensed into containers that you bring from home. There will also be an option to buy reusable containers from us, use supplied paper bags or take containers from our ‘free to a good home’ section.”
The store is open seven days a week from 8am to 7pm on weekdays, Saturdays from 9 to 7pm and from 12 to 6pm on Sundays.