Aldi Replacing 12.5 Million Single-use Plastic Bags With Compostable Bags

There are numerous reasons behind the global push to “go green”, the first one being the creation of sustainable earth for future generations.

By going green, we are fighting against global warming and its effects, and reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases.

Every single thing we do has an impact on the planet, so if we act conscientiously, there is still time to save it for future generations. We should urgently act, and make the right decisions and the necessary changes to act friendly towards our environment.

On the other hand, this will help us save in energy costs and water bills, and boost productivity and the local economy. Supermarket chain Aldi decided to lead by committing to replace 12.5 million single-use plastic bags with compostable bags.

The company stated that from the beginning of the year, all 139 of its Irish stores will stock 100% compostable eco-friendly bag options. The new bags will be of three types- loose produce bags, Aldi Reusable Shopping Bags, and reusable and recyclable Paper Bags for Life.

Additionally, all loose fruits and vegetable bags will be replaced with 100% compostable alternatives.

Ten million from the 12.5 million bags they create will be produce bags, and the rest will be shopping bags.

According to John Curtin, Group Buying Director at Aldi Ireland:

“We are very proud to be the first retailer in Ireland to offer customers biodegradable and plastic-free alternatives to our entire produce and carrier bag range, including fruit and vegetable bags, standard carrier bags and Bags for Life.

With 139 supermarkets in the Republic of Ireland, we are excited to see the environmental impact this new initiative will have in communities across the country.”

Compostable bags will be suitable for regular compost bins, made from pasted corn starch and can carry up to 12 kilograms.

The eco-friendly paper used for the paper bags will be FSC certified and printed with sustainable ink and will support a whopping 20kg of produce.

Last year, when the discount supermarket giant offered paper and compostable bags in their stores to trial them as alternatives to plastic bags, Fritz Walleczek, managing director of corporate responsibly, explained:

“Reducing the amount of plastic we produce is fundamental to our commitment to being a sustainable and environmentally responsible business. This trial will identify the option which best suits our shoppers. 

Cutting waste is part of Aldi’s DNA and we are constantly looking for new ways to reduce our environmental impact. This new trial is one of the biggest we have ever launched because we want our customers to be involved and help us make the right decision for them and the environment.”

Aldi has also announced that they will completely eliminate all non-recyclable packaging by the end of 2020, along with the following pledges: 

1. By 2022 Aldi aims for 100% of all own-label packaging to be recyclable, reusable or compostable (where it does not have a detrimental effect on product quality or safety or increase food waste)

2. By 2025 Aldi aims to achieve 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging across all products (where it does not have a detrimental effect on product quality or safety or increase food waste)

3. By 2025 Aldi aims to reduce packaging by 50% (relative to 2015 baseline)

4. By 2025 Aldi aims for 50% of its packaging to be made from recycled material

5. Aldi will publicly report on its packaging progress annually starting in 2019

6. Aldi is educating customers on the importance of waste reduction (reduce, reuse, recycle) through its community programs

7. Aldi removed all single-use plastic bags from our stores at the end of 2018

8. Aldi is working in partnership with other retailers to reduce its dependence on plastic

9. Aldi has established a Packaging Task Force with its Buying Teams and external experts to deliver these goals

10. In principle, Aldi supports a Deposit Return Scheme for plastic bottles and is conducting a feasibility study into how it could implement such a scheme

On the company’s website, one can find their New Packaging and Plastic Pledges as well:

  1. We aim to remove difficult to recycle packaging including expanded polystyrene, PVC and non-detectable black plastic from our core range of food products by the end of 2020.
  2. We will initially remove non-detectable black plastic across our range of fruit and vegetables by the end of 2019 before extending it to our fresh meat, fish and chilled ready meals.
  3. We aim to reduce plastic packaging by 25% by the end of 2023.
  4. We will remove non-biodegradable glitter from Christmas wrapping paper and greeting cards by Christmas 2019 and from all products by the end of 2020.

The company claims that it is fully dedicated to reducing the amount of plastic they use, by turning to easily recyclable materials and sustainable packaging.

It also adds that even though they “still have a long way to go”, they are working hard to reduce their environmental impact.

Fantastic, Aldi! We hope you will inspire other companies to follow suit!