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Aldi’s plastics pledge

Aldi commits to reduce and reuse packaging, and calls for industry-wide collaboration to tackle plastic pollution
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Aldi’s plastics pledge

Aldi has pledged its support for WRAP’s new initiative to ‘transform the UK plastics system and tackle plastic pollution’.

Aldi has also announced it will make sure all packaging on its own-label products will be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022.

To achieve this goal, Aldi has announced plans to scrap 5p carrier bags, to help cut the amount of packaging and plastics used by both its business and its customers.

The supermarket will instead offer customers bags for life as well as reusable 9p bags made from back-of-store plastic waste.

Support for a deposit return scheme

Aldi has also pledged its support in principle for a national deposit return scheme (DRS) for plastic bottles, and is currently assessing the feasibility of how such a scheme could be implemented.

Matthew Barnes, CEO of Aldi UK & IRE, said that part of Aldi’s role is to help its customers lead ‘healthier, better lives.’ He said this includes reducing waste – particularly around unnecessary packaging and plastics ‘that damage the environment we live in’.

Matthew added that Aldi ‘cannot do this alone’, and called for wider collaboration to drive industry-wide change. ‘We are committed to doing all we can to lead the way and to bring our customers on this journey with us’, he said.

Has Aldi gone far enough?

Alongside Iceland, Tesco and Co-op, Aldi is now the fourth major British retailer to give its backing to a deposit return scheme for plastic drinks bottles.

Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said that the announcement from Aldi ‘fails to meet the bar set by Iceland – who are simply eliminating polluting plastics from their own brand products within five years.’

Louise said that Greenpeace is looking forward to hearing more of the details about how Aldi will reduce and reuse its packaging, adding that it’s ‘increasingly clear that plastics recycling alone won’t clean up our oceans.’

‘We need a dramatic reduction in throwaway plastic packaging and we need it to start now. That’s why we’re calling on retailers to eliminate polluting plastic packaging completely from their own brand products.’

Senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK

Aldi’s track record with plastics

Aldi has charged for single-use bags since opening its first UK store in 1990, and has used plastic recycled from its back-of-store waste to make its reusable carrier bags since the middle of last year.

It has already removed all plastic stems from its cotton buds, which it achieved in December 2017, and banned all microbeads and microplastics from products in 2015.

It has sent no waste to landfill since 2014 and was also among the first to sign the Courtauld Commitment 2025 to reduce the environmental impact of food and drink waste by 20% by 2025. It recently announced it had joined the Champions 12.3 coalition with a pledge to halve operational waste by 2030.

Aldi will seek to amplify the impact of the commitments it makes within its business with efforts to educate customers on the importance of reducing waste themselves.

As well as engaging directly with customers in-store and via social and online media, Aldi will work with partners such as Team GB to help 1.2 million children learn about recycling and waste as part of its Get Set to Eat Fresh initiative.

Click here for more on the call for supermarkets to back a deposit return scheme (DRS) for plastic bottles.

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