Aldi is trialling its first collection facilities for soft plastics in select stores in the North of England and East Midlands, with a view to helping customers recycle problem materials.
The UK’s fifth-largest supermarket is providing collection bins at 20 of its stores across Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Greater Manchester, where customers can deposit clean, soft plastic packaging.
As the vast majority of UK local authorities do not currently collect soft plastics, the collection bins mean that customers can return all types of these materials – including crisp packets, salad bags, bread bags and carrier bags – regardless of where the items were purchased. Aldi will then work with its recycling partner to establish the best routes for the plastics to be processed.
If the trial is successful, the collection bins will be rolled out across all of Aldi’s more than 900 UK stores, to provide shoppers with an option to recycle their soft plastics.
The trial is the latest move to reduce plastic waste by Aldi, which is also working towards 100% of its own-label packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2022.
Richard Gorman, Plastics and Packaging Director at Aldi UK, said: “We know our customers are environmentally-conscious, and as a responsible retailer, we are always striving to reduce plastic waste wherever possible. Our latest trial is another step in the right direction, as we work towards being able to offer shoppers an option to bring back to our stores problem plastic that might not be recycled by their local councils.
“We will be monitoring the trial closely, and we hope that customers utilise our collection bins so that we can look at expanding this into more stores.”
Helen Bird, Strategic Engagement Manager at WRAP, said: “While plastic bags and wrapping makes up around a fifth of consumer plastic packaging, only 6% of it is recycled. UK Plastics Pact members, representing the vast majority of plastic packaging sold by supermarkets, have committed for all of it to be recyclable by 2025.
“In future years local authorities will collect this material for recycling, but in the meantime supermarkets are able to provide recycling points for plastic bags and wrapping to the many citizens who want to recycle all that they can. It’s great to see Aldi trialling how this can be achieved.”
Aldi has committed to remove single-use plastic from all its own-brand tea bags by the end of 2021.