Aldi to trial reusable fruit and vegetable bags

Aldi will introduce reusable bags for loose fruit and vegetables at more than 250 UK stores by the end of the month, in a drive to reduce single-use plastics.

Aldi to trial reusable fruit and vegetable bags

Aldi currently distributes 133 tonnes of single-use plastic produce bags in the UK and Ireland annually. Image: Aldi

The reusable bags – intended to house Aldi’s recently expanded range of loose produce – will be made from recycled plastic bottles and retail for 25p each.

They will be made available to shoppers at more than 250 of Aldi’s stores across Scotland, the Midlands and the North of England, over the next three weeks.

If customer feedback is promising, Aldi will explore a national rollout – a move it claims would remove 113 tonnes of plastics from circulation annually.

The move forms part of Aldi UK’s commitment to reduce the amount of plastic used across its own-brand portfolio by 25% by the end of 2023, against a 2016 baseline. As an interim target, the supermarket is aiming to remove all hard-to-recycle plastics from its own-brand food lines by the end of 2020, with items scrapped to date including pizza bases and black plastic produce trays.

“It is a long journey, but every little step like this brings us closer to our target of cutting the amount of plastic we use in packaging by 25%,” Aldi UK’s managing director of CR Fritz Walleczek said.

“We are hopeful that our customers will embrace these new reusable produce bags whenever they’re buying loose fruit and veg and, together, we will be able to take more than 100 tonnes of plastic a year out of circulation.”

Elsewhere in its plastics strategy, Aldi UK is aiming to make all of its own-brand plastic packaging 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2022. The supermarket chain claims progress towards this ambition is on track.

The launch of the reusable bags comes shortly after rival Lidl rolled out its own reusable produce bags to all 760+ of its UK stores, at a cost of 69p for two bags. 

Also in the supermarket reuse space, Waitrose has this year launched and expanded ‘Unpacked’ – an offering consisting of hundreds of packaging-free lines. Products sold under ‘Unpacked’ range from beer and wine, to washing-up liquid and laundry detergent, to frozen fruit. 

Asda and Sainsbury’s are reportedly researching and developing refillable options, while Tesco is due to launch TerraCycle’s Loop platform in the UK in early 2020 and Marks and Spencer (M&S) is incentivising container reuse at its in-store Market Place counters.

Sarah George

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