Aldi makes huge change to fruit and veg packaging by ‘removing unnecessary plastic’

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Aldi has said it is “continually working” to reduce the amount of plastic and packaging it uses on its food products. The supermarket has also said customers can look out for labels on food packaging which indicates whether or not it is recyclable or plastic free.

Aldi said: “Plastic packaging plays an important role in protecting products from damage, making sure that they can be transported easily, and helps reduce waste by preserving food for longer.

“However, we are aware of the negative impact that plastic has on the environment, and know this is an issue which matters to our customers.

“As a result, our Buying and Plastic & Packaging teams have been reviewing our entire product range and have taken positive steps to reduce the amount of plastic and packaging we use.”

Customers can now look out for different labels on products which indicates whether the product is recyclable or not as well as if it is plastic free.

Labels include “Improved Product Less Packaging”, “Same Product Less Packaging”, New Recipe Less Packaging”, “Now Recyclable”, “Plastic Free”, and “Plastic Free Punnet”.

The discounter added: “We at Aldi are fully committed to reducing and removing unnecessary plastic and packaging from our products, which is why we first introduced our pledges back in March 2018.”

Since then, Aldi has made 92 percent of its own label packaging recyclable as well as already removing 7,400 tonnes of plastic from its own label products. 

By working with suppliers, the supermarket has also reduced the amount of plastic from Specialbuys packaging and food in store. 

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This sees the removal of labels across multiple fruit and vegetable lines.

The supermarket has said this is saving 178 tonnes of packaging per year.

Aldi’s fresh meat range is now made from cardboard and its steak range will move to cardboard trays which will see a 88 percent reduction in plastic per pack. 

Plastic lids are also being removed from baby wipes which will save 535 tonnes of plastic a year and Aldi have also removed plastic lids from yoghurts and ready to drink coffees.

Pizza base packaging has also changed from plastic to cardboard as well as Aldi saving Specialbuys packaging being replaced with a recyclable alternative to plastic. 

The retailer also recently replaced its plastic drink straws with fully recyclable paper straws in a bid to cut down on plastic further.

Single use plastic straws tend to end up in landfill even when stated they are recyclable.

This is due to how small they are, but Aldi’s new paper straws are fully recyclable and made from FSC-certified cardboard.

Richard Gorman, Plastics and Packaging Director at Aldi UK, said: “Removing plastic straws from own-brand drinks cartons is another step in our journey to reducing plastic packaging across our products.

“Our customers want environmentally-friendly products, and plastic straws are one thing, in particular, that people want to move away from to help make a difference.”

What’s more, the supermarket recently introduced a plastic-free refillable station in one UK store to see whether it would be a hit with customers.

The move could see the refillable station expanded to other Aldi stores in the future. 

The supermarket estimates that the option could remove more than 130 tonnes of plastic annually from its stores. 

Mr Gorman said: “Customers at our Ulverston store can now buy the same high-quality items they know and love, while also cutting down on plastic packaging.

“We’re always looking for new ways to reduce waste plastic and limit packaging, as many of our shoppers are increasingly conscious of the environment and their impact on it. We hope local customers embrace the trial and we will use their feedback to inform any future plans around refillable products.”

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