Aldi Package Free Products (3)

Source: Aldi

Customers were initially required to use a paper bag

Aldi has ended its packaging-free trial at a single store and is now assessing the findings before deciding on next steps.

The trial launched in April last year, with the introduction of a bank of eight dispensers containing pasta and rice to an Aldi store in Ulverston, Cumbria.

Initially, customers were required to use a paper bag, provided free of charge, for the purchase to be processed correctly at checkout.

Then in August last year, Aldi announced plans to add a weighing station. It meant customers would be able to use their own containers, weighing them before and after filling, making the trial truly packaging-free for the first time.

The trial launch also saw the household staples priced between 3p and 10p cheaper per kg than their packaged equivalents.

Aldi said at the time that if the pilot was successful, it would introduce refillable options to other stores, and that the move could save more than 130 tonnes of plastic annually.

Aldi pledged in 2020 to halve the volume of plastic packaging it uses by 2025, removing 74,000 tonnes of the material.


News its packaging-free trial has ended follows Tesco’s quiet winding down of up a 10-store reusable packaging pilot with eco company Loop.

Writing a blog in June, Tesco responsible sourcing director Giles Bolton said the trial had been well received but added that work was needed “to encourage a cultural and behavioural shift from customers”.

The pilot ran for a year online and nine months in stores, with customers paying a refundable deposit on each piece of reusable pre-filled packaging.