Aldi to eliminate single-use plastics from stores by end of next year

Aldi Australia plans to rid stores of single-use plastics, including cotton buds, plastic plates and straws by the end of next year.

Speaking at the retailer’s supplier forum on Wednesday, managing director Oliver Bongardt also revealed plans to cut at least a quarter of all plastic packaging from its product range by 2025.

“It is our ambition to reduce the amount of plastics in our stores, while in parallel stimulating Australia’s circular economy, ensuring that our business partners have commercially viable packaging options to reduce their reliance on virgin materials,” said Oliver Bongardt, managing director of Buying, ALDI Australia.

“Despite our desire, and that of our customers, to remove plastics immediately, this process will take years not weeks. Today’s announcement is to clearly demonstrate that we are completely invested in the important journey of reducing waste and we stand committed to quantify our progress over the coming years.”

The retailers plans to cut plastic packaging will apply to its fresh produce range with sustainable alternatives sought that won’t result in increased food waste. It will also target reducing or replacing black plastics which are difficult to recycle.

The discount grocer will make a special effort with its own brands, which will be made 100 per cent recyclable, reusable or compostable by the end of 2025. It will ensure that its paper and pulp-based packaging of its everyday range will either be FSC, PEFC or 70 per cent recycled by 2020.

“We will aim to stimulate an Australian circular economy by committing to include 30 per cent recycled materials in our plastic packaging by the end of 2025. We will use the Australasian Recycling Label on Aldi branded products by the end of 2022 and we will further educate customers on the importance of packaging waste reduction (reduce, reuse, recycle),” added Aldi in a statement.

Brooke Donnelly, CEO, Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, acknowledged Aldi’s sustainability commitments saying it isn’t just good for the environment, “it also makes good business sense and can drive a range of positive commercial benefits”.

“It’s particularly impressive to see the process ALDI has undertaken to involve their suppliers; effectively bringing a range of businesses along on their sustainable packaging journey and delivering an efficient, cost effective approach to the entire supply chain.”

Pne of Aldi’s long standing business partners Pact Group, said geopolitical and consumer shifts in sustainability have created an “urgency towards action” to transform to a circular economy.

“Australia is an innovative advanced first world economy and to effect this shift, we will need to embrace closed loop industry solutions, embrace collaboration and continue to eliminate waste in our supply chain,” Raphael Geminder, chairman of Pact Group said at the event.

“Collecting material is not a solution, we need to embrace and grow returnable packaging, aggressively expand pooling solutions and find large sinks that consume high levels of recycled material.”

Aldi is partnered with food rescue groups including including FoodBank, OzHarvest and Second Bite and has already donated 4,077 tons of food to those in need. The discount grocer also has a battery recycling program, wherein 5.9 million batteries have been recycled.

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