Aldi has launched its first ’packaging-free’ trial, allowing customers to buy household staples loose.
Basmati rice, brown rice, penne pasta and wholewheat fusilli are now available from a bank of dispensers.
The trial has been launched in a single store in Ulverston, Cumbria, but Aldi is already contemplating rolling it out, in a move that could save a claimed 130 tonnes of plastic annually from stores.
A number of supermarkets have experimented with selling products packaging-free, including Waitrose, with its ‘Unpacked’ refill range in four stores, and Asda at its ‘sustainability store’ in Middleton. Aldi is thought to be the first discounter to make the move.
However, while other trials allow customers to fill their own containers, Aldi’s requires the use of a paper bag, provided free of charge at the bank of dispensers.
The products are sold by weight and are slightly cheaper than the conventionally packaged equivalent. Worldwide Basmati Rice is currently listed at £1.29 per kg packaged on Aldi’s website, while the price from Aldi’s dispenser is £1.19 per kg. Cucina Penne Pasta, Cucina Wholewheat Fusilli and Worldwide Brown Rice are all 75p per kg from the dispenser. Packaged, the first two are 78p per kg and the last 79p.
“Customers at our Ulverston store can now buy the same high-quality items they know and love, while also cutting down on plastic packaging,” said Aldi plastic and packaging director Richard Gorman.
“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.”
Last year, Aldi committed to halving plastic packaging by 2025, requiring the elimination of 74,000 tonnes of the material over five years.