High-profile Budgens retailer Andrew Thornton has introduced dedicated plastic-free zones for more than 1,700 products in his Belsize Park store, North London.

The zones showcase a number of fresh products, including meat and fish, packaged in innovative plastic-free materials such as beechwood nets, pulp, paper, metal, glass, cellulose and cartonboard.

Thornton’s Budgens founder, Andrew Thornton, said: “As the community supermarket that really cares we believe in taking a strong stance on major issues that affect our wellbeing and our planet.

“The issue of plastic is one that can no longer be ignored so we’ve chosen to be the first mainstream supermarket in the UK to introduce Plastic Free Zones. This means our customers will be able to do a comprehensive shop without the need to use any plastic packaging.”

He added that squirrels were one of 1,500 plastic-free products that its customers could now buy.

“Our aim is to show the big supermarkets that it is not as difficult to go plastic-free as they think. If we with our limited resources in 10 weeks can introduce more than a thousand plastic-free products just imagine what the major chains could achieve,” Andrew said.

Campaign group A Plastic Planet has called for an urgent transformation of the UK’s approach to waste management, urging the government to use the new plastics tax to fund a national infrastructure that mandates both recycling and composting.

A Plastic Planet co-founder, Sian Sutherland, said: “Plastic is totally nuts. Thornton’s Budgens are disrupting the market and showing that wrapping something as fleeting as food in something as long-lasting as plastic is the definition of madness.

“In just 10 weeks the store has removed plastic packaging from more than 1,500 products, finally giving their customers the choice they want. While big retailers claim it will take 10 years to create real plastic-free change, Thornton’s Budgens has shown that we can start to wean ourselves off plastic in 10 weeks.”