Regulations & Policies

Local scientist launches first plastic-free supermarket

The first package-free supermarket has opened today in Digbeth, Birmingham.

The Clean Kilo, which was crowdfunded with £19,259 GBP total, offers a variety of products from food products such as beans, grains, legumes, pasta, seeds, nuts, dried fruits, cereals, coffee and deli and eggs as well as household, baking and cleaning products without packaging.

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Customers can bring their own reusable bags and containers to shop at the Digbeth-based store as it aims to reduce massive waste created by unnecessary plastic wrappers, bottles and tubs.

According to The Clean Kilo’s website, only 50% of plastic in Britain ends up being recycled, leaving the other half to decompose between the 450-1000 years it takes. The website also says plastic ends up in the ocean “easily ingested by fish and marine birds”, meaning customers’ dinner plates contain plastic pieces.

Local scientist and founder of The Clean Kilo, Tom Pell, said the store was “one small step” toward reducing plastic packaging waste. He had lived in Australia for four years and noticed the concept of buying bulk in regular supermarkets, quickly deciding to change his career path.

Pell, who is a PhD chemist originally from Lichfield, said Birmingham is “in desperate need of this kind of thing”.

“Through my extensive background in chemistry, I am aware 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.

​“Buying at The Clean Kilo will help save the planet and marine wildlife and help to keep toxic chemicals off your dinner plate.”

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.

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