Aldi begins removing plastic packaging from meat lines

Aldi is trialling cardboard trays to replace the plastic trays usually used to house its steaks, in a move which will cut its annual plastic output by 240 tonnes.

Steaks in the new packaging went on sale on Friday (9 August)

Steaks in the new packaging went on sale on Friday (9 August)

The new trays will be used to house the supermarket’s range of own-brand, ‘Specially Selected’ steaks at more than 380 of its stores across Wales, the North West and the South East.

While the new packaging format does not eliminate the need for a clear, flexible plastic film, Aldi claims that it reduced the amount of plastic used, by weight, to house its steaks by 90%.

Crucially, the new cardboard alternative is classed as recyclable at kerbside level, once the film has been removed, and is made using forestry materials certified as sustainable.

The switch will affect sirloin, fillet, ribeye and rump steaks to begin with. If customer feedback is positive, Aldi has said that it will explore the possibility of a national rollout and assess what other meat products could be packaged in the same way.

“Meat is almost universally sold in plastic, but we’re looking to lead the way with alternatives – including these new cardboard steak trays,” Aldi UK’s managing director of corporate responsibility, Fritz Walleczek, said.

“Both food and plastic waste are important issues, but this packaging delivers on both, by potentially removing 240 tonnes of plastic a year without compromising food quality or longevity.”

The move forms part of Aldi UK’s overarching commitment to halve its packaging use, by weight, by 2025, and its pledge to ensure that all its own-brand plastics packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022.

Since setting these targets, the supermarket chain has switched to plastic-free pizza bases; begun selling plastic-free toilet paper packs and unveiled plans to phase out plastic glitter by 2020. It has additionally altered the packaging format for many of its fruit and vegetable lines, swapping hard-to-recycle black plastic trays for clear alternatives and removing plastics altogether for lines with a longer shelf life.

Sarah George



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