Borough introduces plastic-free carrier bags

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Borough Market traders are now offering fully biodegradable cornstarch bags

Borough Market has become the first food market in the UK to replace plastic carrier bags with a fully biodegradable alternative. Made from GM-free cornstarch, these bags are strong enough to be reused multiple times, after which they can be disposed of with a clear conscience, together with food waste or garden waste. Dozens of the Market’s traders are already using the plastic-free bags, with 25,000 currently in circulation, and the rest will follow suit in the coming months.

Aiming to be plastic free
This change is just the latest step towards the Market’s stated aim of becoming an institution completely free from single-use plastic. Single-use plastic bottles are no longer sold anywhere on its estate, and the three water fountains that were installed two years ago are now being used by visitors to supply a volume of water equivalent to 1,750 standard bottles per day—a fourth fountain is on its way next year. Most of the food in the Market is sold loose, including fruit and veg, which both reduces the potential for food waste and cuts down on plastic. The Borough Market Store has added to its offering a light-weight drawstring bag, designed for transporting and storing fresh produce, and the Store also offers plastic-free alternative to cling film, made from beeswax-infused cotton.

Rising to the Market’s challenge, many of the traders have taken it upon themselves to come up with novel ideas for cutting down on packaging. For example, from Thursday 19th September, nibs etc. will start selling packaging-free granola, which can be measured out from the stall’s dispensers into a reusable container, while Elpiniki is encouraging customers to bring their own lunchboxes to be filled with the stall’s delicious Cypriot dishes. Expect a plethora of similar initiatives to follow as single-use plastic gradually becomes extinct throughout Borough Market.