The seas are polluted by plastic, but even fish which have been caught can pollute. In a year there are thousands of tons of polystyrene used for the transport and sale of fish, destined for the food sector. The numbers are staggering, when considering that polystyrene is a disposable product with little market value as recyclable waste.

Eataly, with its seven fish shops in Italy, wants to promote environmental protection. Its first piece to a mosaic of change: replace polystyrene boxes with recyclable polyethylene boxes.

The container, developed with the national Polieco consortium, can be reused for five years with the possibility of being recycled at the end of its life. Experimentation will start at Rome’s sales point in collaboration with the fishermen’s cooperative of Civitavecchia. Only they produce a monthly waste of 25,000 polystyrene boxes a month.

Polystyrene fish boxes banned to save the seas from plastic
Marcello Favagrossa, Eataly Marketing And Communication Manager

“On the part of Eataly, this intervention is not a single episode, but it is an attention that is part of our DNA”, says Marcello Favagrossa, Eataly marketing and communication manager. “For a couple of years as operators in the fish trade we had had the warning of the pollution of plastic in the seas. Our fishmongers have a very high quality product, but with the paradox of producing thousands of tons per month of disposable polystyrene, which immediately becomes waste”, he adds. Polystyrene which, when reduced to less than 5 millimeters, if thrown into the sea, becomes part of the food chain.

Polystyrene fish boxes banned to save the seas from plastic
Fish At The Market (photo By Chuttersnap On Unsplash)

Hence the idea of ​​distorting the work and logistics of the fishmongers in the sales outlets in Turin, Pinerolo, Milan, Rome and in maritime-oriented stores such as Genoa, Bari and Venice. Genoa will be the first to follow the example of Rome. The boxes, once Eataly has emptied them, will be returned washed to the suppliers who, in turn, will provide a second washing phase.

“Today we continue a path aimed at minimising our overall impact: we have historical suppliers with whom there is a strong understanding on the subject and who are very receptive. Sensitivity has been growing over time. Between September and October Eataly will declare the clean and fair packaging poster for all products and processes”, concluded Favagrossa.