German discounters launch ambitious plastic recycling targets

Published by Ramya Ramalingam on

March 14th, 2018

Aldi had pledged to make 100 per cent of packaging on its own-label products in Ireland recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022.

The decision follows Aldi’s Irish and UK operations plan to reduce its packaging and plastics over the coming decade. The retailer is committed to reducing all product packaging by 50 per cent over the next seven years.

About 90 per cent of the products sold at Aldi stores is either private label or Aldi own-brands. The company says that it has sent no waste to landfills since 2014, and banned microbeads and microplastics from products in 2015.

Aldi hopes to keep track of progress made by publishing annual packaging and plastics report each spring.

“Our customers trust us not only to offer them high-quality products at unbeatable prices but to help them lead healthier better lives,” said Group Managing Director at Aldi Ireland, Giles Hurley.

He added: “That includes reducing waste, particularly around unnecessary packaging and plastics that damage the environment we live in.”

Aldi Grocery Store Super Market Food Market Photo: Mike Mozart

In the UK, the company has pledged its support to a new initiative from Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP) to tackle the UK’s problems with plastic waste.

In January, Prime Minister Theresa May launched the UK’s 25 Year Environment Plan setting out the Government’s strategy to tackle plastic waste over the next quarter century.

Plans include the extension of the UK’s plastic bag levy, removing single-use plastics from government offices, and introducing plastic-free supermarket aisles.

Aldi’s plan of action for its UK stores is to replace the 5p plastic bags with reusable 9p bags produced from back-store plastic waste and bags for life.

Other Retailers

Hot on the heels of Aldi’s announcement, Lidl Ireland has outlined a series of targets as part of its plastic reduction program.

Lidl Ireland It aims to cut down plastic packaging to 20 per cent by 2022 and has also pledged to use recyclable, reusable or refillable material in 100 per cent of its own-labelled packaging by 2025.

This declaration is a part of the circular program whose goals is to encourage and boost the demand for recycled materials.

JP Scally, the Managing Director of Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland believe that this initiative will offer a viable long term solution to the supermarket chain’s wider sustainability commitments.

“[Lidl] strongly believe that our circular approach will deliver a viable long-term solution, without compromising on our ability to deliver exceptional value to customers,” he added.

Tesco has also introduced compostable packaging for their fresh organic products and reusable plastic crates known as green trays into their distribution system.

According to the company, this has significantly reduced secondary waste packaging by 36 tonnes from its operations in Ireland.

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Ramya Ramalingam

Ramya is studying for a Masters in Media Management at Griffith College Dublin. She is passionate about photography and film and has a keen interest in environmental issues.