Aldi unveils sweeping measures to slash plastics waste

Discount chain Aldi will scrap 5p carrier bags by the end of this year and ensure all packaging on its own-label is reusable, recyclable or compostable before 2022.

In place of carrier bags, the UK’s fastest growing supermarket will offer customers bags for life as reusable 9p bags made from back-of-store plastic waste.

A new taskforce of internal and independent experts has been set up to help Aldi drive innovation in packaging, the company confirmed.

Aldi has also given its backing to a national deposit return scheme for plastic bottles. It will assess the feasibility of how such a scheme could be implemented.

Aldi UK’s chief executive Matthew Barnes said the chain was committed to bringing its customers along the journey in its ambition to lead the industry on plastic waste reduction.

“Our customers trust us not only to offer them high-quality products at unbeatable prices, but to help them lead healthier, better lives,” Barnes said.

“That includes reducing waste, particularly around unnecessary packaging and plastics that damage the environment we live in.”

Plastics Pact

Barnes called on Aldi’s rivals to work together in order to drive industry-wide change. In support of this aim, Aldi has signed up to a new cross-sector initiative from WRAP aimed at tackling plastic waste.

The UK Plastics Pact, due to be launched shortly, will “transform the way” businesses deal with plastics, WRAP’s chief executive Marcus Gover said.

“Through WRAP’s new ambitious, cross-sector initiative, which will be unveiled soon, we will work together with governments, citizens and business to transform the way we make, use and dispose of plastic so that we retain its value, particularly in reducing food waste, but prevent it from polluting the environment,” he said.

This latest announcement builds upon a long-standing commitment by Aldi to reduce its environmental impact. Aldi has already removed all plastic stems from its cotton buds and banned all microbeads from its products.

The Courtauld 2025 member recently pledged to reduce its operational food waste by 50% by 2030, after joining the Champions 12.3 coalition. Almost 100,000 solar panels were installed across 50 UK Aldi stores in 2017.

George Ogleby

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