ALDI removes 2,000 tons of plastic packaging in one year

Australians who shop at ALDI can feel comfortable knowing that their weekly shopping contains less plastic, because ALDI Australia has removed almost 2,000 tons of plastic packaging and has reduced its fresh product range by 10 percent in just one year.

With this, ALDI Australia is well meeting its goal of reducing the plastic consumption of its own-brand packaging by a quarter by 2025.

Australians consume over 3.5 million tonnes * of plastic each year, of which one million tonnes is single-use plastic **.

When ALDI first made its ambitious commitment in 2019, the company assessed the total amount of packaging for each of its products. Since then, the supermarket has been working closely with producers and manufacturers to remove plastics from its range. This includes removing plastic sleeves, trays and labels or replacing them with sustainable alternatives in order to reduce the total amount of plastic in products.

In the first year of the initiative, ALDI reduced its plastic packaging by four percent, bringing a total of almost 2,000 tons of plastic onto the market. The supermarket has particularly focused on removing plastic from its fresh produce, cutting plastic trays and packaging by 10 percent.

The organization recognizes its responsibility to minimize the use of plastics and states that eagle-eyed customers may have noticed changes to product packaging.

“Australian food buyers are informed and want to make conscious purchasing decisions,” says ALDI Managing Director Corporate Responsibility Daniel Baker.

“Buyers may have noticed changes such as the transition of our dairy-free yoconut dessert cups from plastic to cardboard packaging and the removal of plastic trays from some packaged fresh fruits like apples and pears. These may seem like small changes, but they all add up to make one big difference.

“In the next few years we will continue to remove plastics from our range and by 2025 all remaining packaging will be either recyclable, reusable or compostable.”

Almost the entire range of ALDI clothing is now packaged in cardboard boxes, when clothing was previously sold in plastic bags. Loyal buyers may have noticed minor details, such as the removal of the back label from some milk bottles and 20-pack size chips that are now sold in a box instead of a plastic bag. Attempts to improve packaging are also underway across Australia, such as the introduction of recyclable cardboard bread labels and home-compostable strawberry pods.

ALDI’s packaging commitments bring the company in line with national packaging targets for 2025, supported by Australian industry and government, and taking a preventive approach to providing sustainable packaging.

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organization (APCO) is mandated by the government to facilitate the achievement of the 2025 targets. Brooke Donnelly, APCO’s chief executive officer, said it was gratifying to see companies proactively taking steps to reduce their plastic footprint.

“Together we have a big task ahead of us to achieve the national packaging targets for 2025. However, it is fantastic to see ALDI address this challenge by implementing solutions to reduce and improve the recyclability of packaging within the supply chain, ”she said.

“ALDI is a founding member of the ANZPAC Plastics Pact and a supporting partner of the Australian Dairy Sustainable Packaging Roadmap, both industry-leading measures that bring industry players together to take action to create a circular economy for plastics.”

Black packaging that is difficult to recycle, such as a meat bowl, has more than halved and 84 percent of all packaging is now recyclable, reusable or compostable. In addition, more than 65 percent of the ALDI range now carries the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL), which clears up confusion and enables Australians who care about the environment and want to do the right thing.

“ALDI has already removed a number of unnecessary and problematic plastics from its range by replacing disposable plastic tableware last year, saving 322 tons of plastic from the landfill and replacing plastic cotton swabs with a version with a paper handle to avoid excess 357 million plastics come from landfill every year, ”said Baker.

ALDI’s plastics and packaging commitments are just a few of several sustainability initiatives across the business and supply chain. ALDI does not want to land any waste in landfills by 2025 and no food waste in landfills by 2023. This year the supermarket will also run on 100 percent renewable electricity.

Further information can be found in the progress report from ALDI Plastics & Packaging here.

* Australian Plastic Recycling Survey 2018-2019 page 1 / 42de28ac-5a8e-4653-b9bd-7cc396c38fba / files / australian-plastics-recycling-survey-report-2018-19.pdf

** World Wildlife Foundation and Boston Consulting Group, “Plastics Revolution to reality – A roadmap to the halfve Australia’s single-use plastic waste” (2020) page 11

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