Aldi continues phase-out of non-recyclable plastics

Discount supermarket Aldi is switching a range of its cooked meat from non-recyclable packaging to clear, recyclable alternatives in a move that is set to save more than 1,000 tonnes of plastic annually.

The supermarket has announced that it will introduce the new packaging across its entire range of Ashfield Farm meat products by the end of 2018, as it strives towards a 2022 goal of ensuring all of its own-brand packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable.

Aldi estimates that the switch, which will affect 27 product lines, will divert 1,059 tonnes of plastic from landfill each year – equivalent to 37 million individual packets.

“Our customers consistently tell us that they want to see a reduction in plastic waste, and we are committed to helping them achieve that by ensuring all our own-label packaging can be reused, recycled or composted by 2022,” Aldi UK’s managing director of corporate responsibility Fritz Walleczek said.

“We have been reviewing all our products to help us achieve that, and this is just the latest in a string of initiatives that will help us reach that target.”

The move from Aldi comes shortly after the chain began removing black plastic from its fresh produce ranges, in a move the company claims will save around 265 tonnes of plastic a year.

Aldi joins the likes of the Co-opLidl and Quorn in publicly announcing plans to phase-out or reduce black plastic use, after signing up to WRAP’s Plastic Pact earlier this year.

Elsewhere, the supermarket has redesigned its range of plastic pasta pots to include 95% post-consumer recycled (PCR) content – a move it claims will prevent the use of 139 tonnes of virgin plastic annually.

Aldi has additionally pledged to scrap 5p carrier bags by the end of this year and is set to replace them with reusable 9p bags-for-life made from back-of-store plastic waste.

Global Plastics Platform 

In related news, the United Nations (UN) last week launched a new initiative that will enable businesses, governments and local authorities to connect and share best practice on plastic management. 

Called the Global Plastics Platform, the scheme aims to spur new commitments and actions targeting plastic pollution while encouraging closed-loop innovations in the fields of plastic design, production, consumption and disposal. 

“The Global Plastics Platform is exactly the kind of initiative we need to bring countries together in the fight against the millions of tonnes of plastics that end up in our oceans each year,” the UN’s head of environment Erik Solheim said.

“No-one can solve the problem of plastic pollution alone, but together we will fuel global change.”

The initiative is being supported by the World Economic Forum, the New Plastics Economy arm of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Regional Seas Conventions across the world.

Sarah George

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