Aldi steps up plastic bag reduction

Aldi, Britain’s fifth largest supermarket, has launched new initiatives to reduce the volume of plastic bags sold in its stores and to provide reusable and recyclable alternatives.

It is putting the price of its flexi-loop ‘bags for life’ up from 9p to 15p to encourage their reuse. The price increase is effective from Monday 24th February. Home-compostable bags will continue to be available in store for 6p, giving shoppers a more sustainable option.

Money raised from the price increase will be reinvested in future packaging reduction initiatives.

Aldi is also making changes to the single-use produce bags across its fresh fruit and vegetable aisles. They are being replaced with home-compostable alternatives that can be used for household food waste collections. Reusable drawstring produce bags, which are made from recycled bottles and retail at 25p, will also be rolled out to all UK stores.

As a trial in 100 stores in the Midlands region, free single-use plastic produce bags will be removed entirely and replaced with the reusable drawstring bags, to test whether shoppers can be encouraged to bring their own bags for loose fruit and veg or reuse ones they have bought in-store.

If rolled out nationwide, scrapping single-use plastic bags will remove the equivalent of approximately 109 tonnes of plastic from circulation each year.

Fritz Walleczek, managing director of corporate responsibility at Aldi, said: “We are determined to drastically cut single-use plastic, and evolving our approach to the sale and distribution of bags is an important step forward.

“We’ve charged for carrier bags since opening our first UK store in 1990, so our shoppers are already in the habit of reusing them, but these steps will hopefully help people switch to entirely reusable alternatives.”

Last month, Aldi scrapped all plastic applicators from its own-brand tampons, saving 14 tonnes of plastic a year.

The supermarket, which has been carbon neutral since January 2019, is also on track to have all own-label packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022 and aims to reduce plastic packaging by 25% by the end of 2023.