Aldi has launched in-store recycling points for soft plastics, where customers can deposit packaging such as crisp packets, salad bags, bread bags and carrier bags.
The new recycling bins have been introduced at 20 stores across Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Greater Manchester. If successful, they will be rolled out to all 900 Aldi stores across the UK.
Customers can drop off “all types” of clean, soft plastic packaging, irrespective of where it was purchased. Aldi would work with its recycling partner, SWRNewstar, to establish the best routes for the plastics to be processed, it said.
A number of other supermarkets, such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op, already offer recycling points in stores. In March this year, Tesco began rolling out soft plastics recycling points to 171 stores, with plans to expand the initiative to all its large stores nationwide.
Aldi’s move, announced today, follows new guidance from Wrap aimed at encouraging supermarkets to provide recycling points for more types of plastic packaging.
Wrap estimates less than 20% of local authorities collect plastic bags and wrapping as part of their kerbside recycling services. Launching its new guidance last week, it said it would result in much more of the population being able to recycle all types of plastic packaging by the end of this year.
“We know our customers are environmentally-conscious, and as a responsible retailer, we are always striving to reduce plastic waste wherever possible,” said Aldi UK plastics and packaging director Richard Gorman.
“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 customers utilise our collection bins so we can look at expanding this into more stores.”
Wrap strategic engagement manager Helen Bird 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 they can. It’s great to see Aldi trialling how this can be achieved.”
Aldi is working towards making 100% of its own-label packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2022.