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16th Apr 2021

Aldi to trial loose pasta and rice to reduce plastic waste in the UK

Danny Jones

It could eliminate more than 21 million pieces of packaging from stores: approximately 130 tonnes of waste

Popular supermarket chain, Aldi, has supposedly been carbon neutral since 2019 and has been championing greener shopping practices for many years. Now, they are taking their next step in a five-year plan to reduce the amount of plastic use in their stores.

In their latest effort to be more environmentally friendly, the company has announced they will be trialling loose pasta and rice in their Ulverston shop in the UK.

The site, located in the English region of Cumbria, is currently the only site where this approach is being tested, but it could be the first of many if all goes to plan. What a cracking idea.

There are four main pieces of produce, commonly found in people’s cupboards, that will now be available to buy loose: brown and basmati rice; penne pasta and wholewheat fusilli.

Shoppers will simply take a free, recyclable brown paper bag and fill it up at the refill station.

Plastics and Packaging Director of Aldi UK, Richard Gorman, said: “Customers at our Ulverston store can now buy the same high-quality items they know and love, while also cutting down on plastic packaging.

He went on to say that: “We’re always looking for new ways to reduce waste plastic and limit packaging, as many of our shoppers are increasingly conscious of the environment and their impact on it… We hope local customers embrace the trial and we will use their feedback to inform any future plans around refillable products.”

Aldi announced these climate-conscious plans last year, aiming to remove approximately 74,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from their shops, and they are currently on course to ensure all Aldi own-brand products are recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022.

This particular action is estimated to eliminate 130 tonnes of plastic waste alone.

They aim to do the same with all branded items it sells by 2025, but this is already a huge step forward given that Aldi stores are predominantly stocked with their own products.

Hopefully, the trial is a success and we can see it not only pop in more locations, but see similar initiatives carried out by other supermarkets.

Asked if Aldi in Ireland had plans to trial something similar to the UK’s loose pasta and rice approach, a spokesperson said: “We are constantly looking for new ways to reduce the amount of packaging waste across all our 145 Irish stores. We work closely with our colleagues in the UK and we keep developments under review on an ongoing basis.

“Since introducing our plastic-reduction strategy, we have removed more than 2,050 tonnes of virgin plastic from our 145 Irish stores in addition to replacing almost 930 tonnes of non-recyclable material with recyclable alternatives.”

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