Australians who shop at ALDI can feel good knowing their weekly shop contains less plastic, as ALDI Australia removes almost 2,000 tonnes of plastic packaging and achieves a 10 per cent reduction across its fresh produce range in just one year.
This means that ALDI Australia is tracking well in its goal to reduce the amount of plastic used in its own-label packaging by a quarter by 2025.
Australians use over 3.5 million tonnes* of plastics each year, with one million tonnes made up of single-use plastic**.
When ALDI first made its ambitious commitment in 2019, the business evaluated the total amount of packaging across 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 to reduce the overall plastic quantity in the products.
ALDI reduced four per cent of plastic packaging in the first year of the initiative, which has collectively avoided almost 2,000 tonnes of plastics being introduced to the market. The supermarket has been especially focused on removing plastics across its fresh produce, with plastic trays and wraps reduced by 10 per cent.
The organisation recognises its responsibility to minimise the use of plastics, stating that eagle-eyed customers may have already noticed product packaging changes.
“Australian grocery buyers are informed and want to be able to make conscious purchasing decisions,” ALDI director Corporate Responsibility Daniel Baker said.
“Shoppers may have noticed changes, such as our Yoconut dairy free dessert tubs transitioning from plastic to paperboard packaging, and the removal of plastic trays from some packaged fresh fruit like apples and pears. These may seem like small changes, but they all add up to make a big difference.
“The next few years will see us continue to remove plastics from our range and by 2025 all remaining packaging will be either recyclable, reusable or compostable.”
Almost all of ALDI’s apparel range is now packaged in cardboard, when garments used to be sold in plastic bags. Loyal shoppers may have noticed even smaller details, like the removal of the back label from some milk bottles and chips 20 pack size, are now sold in a cardboard box rather than a plastic bag. There are also trials underway across Australia to improve packaging, like the introduction of recyclable cardboard bread tags and home compostable strawberry punnets.
ALDI’s packaging commitments put the business in step with the 2025 National Packaging Targets, which are supported by Australian industry and government and take a prevention-first approach to deliver sustainable packaging.
The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is charged by government to facilitate the delivery of the 2025 Targets. APCO chief executive officer, Brooke Donnelly, said it’s pleasing to see businesses being proactive in taking steps to reduce their plastics footprint.
“Collectively, we have a huge task ahead of us to achieve the 2025 National Packaging Targets. However, it is fantastic to see ALDI step up to address this challenge through implementing solutions to reduce and improve the recyclability of packaging within their 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 of which are industry leading actions that bring together industry stakeholders to take action to create a circular economy for plastics.”
Difficult to recycle black packaging, such as a meat tray, has over halved and 84 per cent of all packaging is now recyclable, reusable or compostable. Also, more than 65 per cent of the ALDI range now carries the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL), removing confusion and enabling 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, last year swapping out single-use plastic tableware, saving 322 tonnes of plastic from landfill, as well as replacing plastic cotton buds with a paper-stemmed version, avoiding over 357 million plastic stems from ending up in landfill each year,” Baker said.
ALDI’s plastics and packaging commitments are some of several sustainability initiatives in place across the business and supply chain. By 2025, ALDI aims to send zero waste to landfill and achieve zero food waste sent to landfill by 2023. This year, the supermarket has also become 100 per cent powered by renewable electricity.
For more information, view the ALDI Plastics & Packaging Progress Report here.
* Australian Plastics Recycling Survey (2018-2019) page 1 https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/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 halve Australia’s single-use plastic litter” (2020) page 11 https://www.wwf.org.au/news/news/2020/new-report-shows-australia-can-halve-its-plastic-pollution#gs.dgnrsa