Aldi to halve plastic packaging use in the UK by 2025

The new commitment will see 2.2 billion pieces of plastic removed from the supermarket’s product lines over the next five years, most of which will be single-use. This is equivalent to 74,000 tonnes in weight.

Plastic wrapping on toilet rolls, for example, will be replaced with a paper alternative, and double lids will be removed from cream and yoghurts.

Aldi UK will also continue its phase-out of plastic trays on steak lines, replacing them with cardboard alternatives.

Since launching its updated plastics strategy in 2018, Aldi has removed more than 6,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from products, including flexible sleeves on multipack tins, expanded polystyrene pizza bases and fruit and vegetable multipacks. The new target aims to accelerate this progress and builds on a previous commitment to reduce plastic packaging volumes by 25% by 2023.

“We are stepping up our efforts to reduce the amount of plastic packaging used across our business because it is the right thing to do for a sustainable future,” Aldi’s chief executive for the UK and Ireland, Giles Hurley, said.

“We know this issue matters to our customers too and are confident they will support our initiatives to reduce plastic in the coming years.”    

While the new target only covers Aldi’s own-brand lines, Hurley wrote to third-party suppliers earlier this year, warning that they will be delisted unless they align with the supermarket’s 2025 plastics packaging commitments.

Aldi UK said that the response to the letter has, to date, been “extremely positive”, with most key suppliers keen to develop new solutions.

Aside from plastics reduction, Aldi’s plastics strategy binds the supermarket to ensure that all its own-brand plastics packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022 and to halve packaging use by weight – regardless of material – by 2025.

On the former, Aldi has replaced more than 3,200 tonnes of unrecyclable material with recyclable alternatives, including black plastic trays for produce.

Reacting to Aldi’s new target, Greenpeace campaigner Nina Schrank said: “Eight months ago, Greenpeace ranked UK supermarkets on their plastic policies and Aldi was one of those lagging behind, so this new commitment is a brilliant step forward. 

“Sainsbury’s previously made the same commitment to halve plastic by 2025, so we’re now looking to the other top supermarkets to rise to the challenge. All supermarkets should listen to their customers who want less plastic, and remove single-use plastic packaging wherever possible, and develop in-store and home delivery options with refillable containers.”

Sarah George

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