How we’re tackling packaging and plastic waste

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 that matters to our customers, which is why Aldi has committed to reduce, reuse, and recycle 100% of our packaging.

As proud members of the UK Plastics Pact, our Buying and Plastic & Packaging teams have been working together to review our entire product range and have taken positive steps to reduce the amount of plastic and packaging we use.

 

The Aldi plastic and packaging pledges

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.

Lots has changed since we first announced our pledges. So in July 2020 we updated these pledges to be even more ambitious. This is what they look like now, and what we are doing to achieve them.

  • All black plastic, PVC and Expanded Polystyrene have been removed from our Core Range Food products!
  • An (everyday) amazing 92% of our own label packaging is recyclable, reusable or home compostable! And we have been testing some exciting initiatives throughout 2021 to help us get to 100%.
  • In 2020, we removed lids from Fresh Cream, Big Pot Yogurts and Ready to Drink Coffee, saving an incredible 34 million pieces of plastic!
  • In 2020, we changed the way we transport our Fresh Meat products to store, switching to reusable crates instead of cardboard boxes and plastic wrap.
  • Currently 11% of our plastic packaging is made from recycled content, and we are working hard to increase this even further.
  • All of our Core Range primary packaging is from a certified source or contains a minimum of 70% recycled content!

Since April 2021 we have been trialing ambient product refills, and well as offering our customers reusable produce bags made from recycled bottles in all of our stores. We will continue to keep you updated on more exciting trials!

 

Our progress so far…

We have been reviewing our range line by line, working internally and with suppliers to make improvements to our packaging. Some changes are more difficult than others, and can take time to test and ensure that we don’t compromise on the excellent quality of our products which our customers have come to expect.

We are proud of the progress we have made so far, which includes:

  • Replacing more than 9,000 tonnes of non-recyclable packaging with recyclable alternatives - the equivalent of 500 double-decker buses!

  • Removing more than 11,300 tonnes of plastic from our own label products - the same weight as 378 humpback whales!

What changes have we made to our packaging?

At Aldi, we are continually working to reduce the amount of plastic and packaging we use, and to ensure that the materials we do use are easy for our customers to recycle.

By working with our suppliers, we have already made many changes to improve our packaging and reduce our plastic usage. Some of these changes include:

  • Our fresh meat range has moved from cardboard shelf-ready packaging (SRPs) to reusable crates, saving a fantastic 5800 tonnes of packaging per year.
  • Our fresh steak range will move to cardboard trays - an 88% plastic reduction per pack, equivalent to a massive 1132 tonnes per year.

     

  • We are removing plastic lids from our Baby Wipes, saving 535 tonnes of plastic per year.
  • We have removed over lids from our Fresh Cream, Big Pot Yogurts and Ready To Drink Coffee - a 208 tonne plastic reduction!
  • By the end of 2021, Aldi has committed to removing single-use plastic from our own label tea bags, switching to biodegradable tea bags and removing the outer plastic packaging. Together, this will remove 80 tonnes of plastic per year.
  • In January 2021, Aldi became the first UK supermarket to replace all plastic on its soft drinks cans with 100% recyclable, FSC certified cardboard, saving nearly 11 million pieces* of plastic a year. *90 tonnes
  • Changes across our Specialbuys packaging has saved 35 tonnes of plastic and replaced 22 tonnes of unrecyclable plastic with a recyclable alternative (or 5366 of our Specialbuy Petrol Lawn Mowers!).
  • We removed 2 million pieces of throwaway plastic from our Easter confectionery range - the equivalent of 5,272 lop-eared bunnies!

We have also committed to never sell single-use plastic plates, cutlery and cups, and have removed all plastic straws and cotton buds!

 

 

Did you know…

That all of our back-of-store plastic waste is recycled, and turned into our bags for life? The bags are made from 100% recycled plastic and can be reused, then recycled again!

Our packaging footprint

The below graphic outlines our complete plastic packaging footprint for the full calendar year 2020. This includes all own label and branded primary, secondary and tertiary plastic packaging used across all of our products sold in stores and online during this period. We commit to publishing this data on our website annually.

As a predominantly own label retailer, 90% of our plastic packaging footprint comes from our own label primary plastic packaging. We have therefore broken this down to show the split by category:

We are continually working to reduce the amount of plastic that we use and ensure that the materials we do use are easy to recycle. We know that we still have a long way to go, but we’re working hard to reduce our environmental impact and ensure that our products are packaged sustainably.