ALDI’s Commitment to Reducing Plastic: 25by25
Finding sustainable alternatives for packaging has always been important to us at ALDI. In 2019, we committed to reducing plastic packaging by 25% by the end of 2025.
Our packaging will also be 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable by that same deadline. We are proud to say that we are on track to achieving this goal and have been working closely with our producers and manufacturers to remove plastic packaging. As of the end of 2020, we have reduced plastic packaging by 4%. Find out more below.
We’re removing single-use and problematic plastics
The Federal Government has announced a National Plastics Plan and a number of states and territories are legislating bans on single use and problematic plastics. In 2019 ALDI prioritised the removal of plastic tableware, plastic stemmed cotton buds and plastic straws.
These items are not recyclable, are single-use and pose a threat to the environment and marine life when littered. This commitment made us market leaders and we’re pleased to see the market and government moving in a similar direction.
ALDI is saying goodbye to single-use and hello to sustainability. We have removed tableware such as plastic bowls, plates, cutlery and cups from our shelves. By no longer selling plastic tableware, we have been able to save 322 tonnes of plastic from landfill each year. In place of predominantly plastic products, we have introduced a new range of plates and bowls that are made entirely of sugar cane, as well as cutlery made from birchwood.
ALDI has also prioritised the reduction or replacement of difficult to recycle black plastic packaging. Status at the end of 2020: we have removed 54% of black plastic packaging across our range. ALDI has also removed all microbeads from our entire beauty product range.
ALDI has never provided free-of-charge plastic carrier bags. Our reusable plastic bag, The Le Bag Recycle, is 80% recycled plastic, 60% of which is pallet wrap from ALDI warehouses. By not providing single-use carrier bags, we have saved an estimated 8.6 billion plastic bags from entering the market.
In December 2021, we became the first Australian supermarket to begin replacing plastic straws on drink cartons, with paper versions. ALDI is currently in the process of rolling out juice boxes that have a paper straw, resulting in the removal of more than 40 million plastic straws a year. The roll-out to all products is due to be complete by mid 2022.
Our cotton buds have also switched from a plastic to a paper stem. By making the change from plastic to paper, we are avoiding 357 million plastic stems from ending up in landfill each year.
These improvements are proof that small changes can lead to positive impacts that have a big impact on the environment.
To learn more about ALDI’s Sustainable Packaging initiatives, read more here.
The role of Plastics in Packaging
Whilst we are actively striving to reduce our use of unnecessary plastic, we also recognise that plastic does serve an important purpose. Plastic is durable, protects products and extends their shelf life. Where plastic cannot be completely removed, ALDI focuses on reducing plastic or using recycled plastic, whilst ensuring recyclability and we encourage our customers to do the same.
We’re Rethinking our Packaging
In the space of a year, we have reduced plastics across our fresh produce by 20% since 2020. Across the Eastern Seaboard, we have removed the plastic punnet from a select range of apples, pears, peaches and nectarines and replaced the punnet with cardboard packaging.
Currently, ALDI is undertaking trials across Australia, where we are looking into introducing recyclable cardboard bread tags on a select range of our bread products. Removal of the plastic tags means less potential for litter and cardboard tags can be recycled (by putting into a used envelope).
Our Sprinters chips are now packaged in a cardboard outer box rather than a plastic bag. Removing the plastic bag delivers greater protection for the chips and also provides a recyclable alternative.
We have also removed the back label from a number of our 2L and 3L milk bottles. By removing these labels we have eliminated an estimated 170 tonnes of plastic annually from our fresh milk range.
See our Plastics and Packaging Progress Report for details about these and other innovative changes we have made to our packaging.
4 Tips for how you can join ALDI in reducing plastics
There are a number of ways that you can reduce your use of plastic in everyday life. Here are a few tips to help you get started and how ALDI can help you.
1. Opt for nude food
Packing ‘Nude Food’ lunches for school and work prevents the use of unnecessary plastics. When grocery shopping, choose unwrapped fresh produce, where possible. Bananas and kiwi fruit that have their own natural packaging are great Nude Food options. Go one step further and store sandwiches in an airtight, reusable lunchbox instead of a single-use sandwich bag. As part of our Special Buys™, ALDI sells a range of reusable storage containers, coffee cups, straws and beeswax wraps that make a great alternative to cling film. These items are an easy way to help you reduce your single-use plastic footprint.
2. Bring reusable bags when shopping
How many times have you got to the shops only to realise you don’t have your bags with you? We’ve all been there! Where possible, try to always keep a shopping bag handy in your bag or boot of the car. ALDI also has you covered with our reusable plastic bag, The Le Bag Recycle, which is made from 80% recycled plastic.
3. Choose packaging made from recycled plastic
At the supermarket, choose bottles and containers that are made from recycled plastic. For example, when shopping at ALDI, look out for the Green Action Dishwashing Liquid or Wool Wash, which are packaged in 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles. More recently, we also redesigned the packaging of the Tandil Ultra Dishwashing Liquid to include 30% recycled plastic packaging. Discover more products that are made from recycled materials in our Plastics and Packaging Progress Report.
4. No excuse for single-use cups
Whilst you go about your day, drink from a reusable coffee cup instead of a single-use one. Most cafes in Australia now allow customers to bring their own cup from home to purchase take-away beverages. Feeling thirsty? ALDI also sells a number of reusable water and drink bottles throughout the year as part of our Special Buys™.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why reduce plastic?
In Australia, 3.5 million tonnes of plastic are consumed every year, with only 11.5% actually recovered for recycling. Lessening the amount of new materials used prevents pollution and saves energy. Reducing plastic also contributes to fewer CO2 emissions, which contribute towards climate change.
How to reduce plastic in schools
Parents and students can reduce plastic in schools by choosing lunchbox items with plastic-free packaging. For example, ALDI’s juice boxes are transitioning to have a paper straw instead of a plastic one, which helps to reduce plastic waste and litter.
How to reduce plastic waste at home
Say no to plastic toys and home décor and opt for items made of more sustainable materials, such as wood. In your daily routine, you could use metal razors instead of disposables. Or, why not replace your existing plastic-stemmed cotton buds with ALDI’s paper-stemmed cotton buds?
How can businesses or schools reduce plastic use?
People at work or in schools can be encouraged to avoid the use of single-use plastics for their lunches. Items such as refillable water bottles, sandwich wraps and reusable cutlery are all great alternatives to plastic.