ALDI to take action on plastic waste with the ARL

By Lucy Jones 7 October 2020

The supermarket chain has also replaced single-use plastics with compostable alternatives and removed unnecessary plastic packaging from its produce.

ALDI is on track to becoming Australia's most sustainable supermarket with its plan to reduce plastics and packaging by 25% by 2025, while also incorporating the Australasian Recycling Label to provide recycling instructions to consumers.

The retailer has released its first Plastics and Packaging Progress Report, outlining its progress towards achieving this goal.

ALDI first announced its plans the reduce plastics and packaging across its product range in 2019. The supermarket committed to the following nine goals as part of this plan:

  1. Reduce plastic packaging by 25% by 2025 (from the 2019 baseline).

  2. Reduce the amount of plastic packaging in fresh produce range and provide sustainable alternatives where possible.

  3. Phase out problematic single-use plastics by the end of 2020 including straws, tableware and cotton buds.

  4. Reduce or replace difficult to recycle black plastic packaging.

  5. Package ALDI exclusive brands with 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable material by the end of 2025.

  6. Introduce FSC, PEFC or 70% recycled paper across everyday range by the end of 2020.

  7. Contribute to the circular economy by including 30% recycled materials in plastic packaging by the end of 20205.

  8. Use the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) on all ALDI branded products by the end of 2022.

  9. Publicly report on these goals by the end of 2020.

The report tracks ALDI's progress towards achieving each of these goals and highlights the changes that have already been implemented across its 250 Australian stores.

To achieve its goal of reducing single-use plastics, ALDI has removed plastic tableware from its shelves, saving 322 tonnes of plastic from landfill. Later this year, the supermarket will be making the switch to compostable sugar cane plates and bowls and Birchwood cutlery. It will also replace plastic-stemmed cotton buds with paper-stemmed alternatives by the end of the year, diverting 357 million plastic stems from landfill.

“Starting with single-use plastic is the best way to make small changes that have big benefits for the environment,” Aaron Nolan, ALDI Australia's Director of National Buying, explained.

The supermarket has also removed plastic packaging from produce such as spring onions and switched to cardboard trays for: apples and pears, tomatoes, zucchinis and capsicums. Earlier this year, ALDI also removed plastic bags from banana stands.

Where plastic packaging can't be eliminated, ALDI is switching to greener alternatives. The supermarket has replaced difficult to recycle black plastic packaging with clear plastic alternatives that are partially recyclable. Customers can check the ARL for instructions on how to dispose of this packaging.

ALDI has also introduced certified sustainable, responsibly sourced or 70% recycled paper and pulp packaging across cardboard boxes, paper sleeves, tags, own brand toilet paper, tissues, kitchen towels and baby products.

In addition to these changes, ALDI has now rolled out the Australasian Recycling Label across 4,253 of products in its everyday, Special Buys and seasonal ranges.

The Australasian Recycling Label is an evidence-based recycling label created in a collaboration between Planet Ark, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) and PREP Design, which provides customers with easy to understand recycling information at the bin.

“In Australia we’re at a critical point for change. We need industry to support and grow demand for recycled materials. And we need customers to recycle the materials in the right way. We are working hard with partners like ALDI to ensure we’re creating sustainable packaging that is actually recyclable, and supporting customers to close the loop,” APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly, said.

Head here to read ALDI's progress report in full.

Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes. 

Lucy Jones
Lucy started her career working as a writer and editor in print and digital publishing. She went on to create content for Australia's leading sustainable fashion platform while completing her Master of Cultural Studies. Lucy spends her downtime at the beach, crocheting and hanging out with her cat Larry. She believes words can change the world and is stoked to help Planet Ark spread the message of positive environmental change.