Supermarket chain Aldi has published its first plastics and packaging progress report, an update on its progress towards its sustainability goals, which include using the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) on all its Aldi-branded products in the coming years.

In the introduction, Aldi Australia managing director national buying Oliver Bongardt writes that Aldi had committed to reduce plastic packaging by 25 per cent by 2025 (from 2019 as a baseline), which will contribute to achieving the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

The supermarket chain is progressing towards its goal of universal use of the ARL on its Aldi-branded products

“To help us achieve this, we committed to removing all problematic single use plastic products such as cotton buds and plastic tableware from shelves; reformulating the packaging of our exclusive brands to be 100 per cent recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025; and switching to FSC, PEFC or 70 per cent recycled material for our paper and pulp-based product packaging in our everyday range by 2025,” Bongardt writes.

In June, Aldi announced nine specific commitments that it says will help it reach its plastic packaging reduction goals, which include:

  • Reducing plastic by 25 percent by 2025;
  • Reducing the amount of plastic packaging in its fresh produce range and transition to more sustainable alternatives where possible, providing no increase in food waste;
  • Phasing out problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics by the end of 2020;
  • Prioritising the reduction or replacement of difficult to recycle black plastic packaging;
  • Reformulating the packaging of its exclusive brands to be 100 per cent recyclable, reusable, or compostable by the end of 2025;
  • Using FSC, BEFC, or 70 per cent recycled paper and pulp based packaging by the end of 2020;
  • Stimulating an Australian circular economy by committing to include 30 per cent recycled materials in plastic packaging by the end of 2025;
  • Using the ARL on all Aldi-branded products by the end of 2022; and
  • Reporting publicly against all goals from 2020.

The report reveals that Aldi is “on track” to achieve its goal of using the Australasian Recycling Label on Aldi-branded products by the end of 2022.

The report says Aldi has extended the ARL to more than 4000 products, up from 77 in 2019.

Aldi has been working in partnership with APCO to introduce the ARL. The retailer said it has moved fast to implement the labelling across its range.

APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly said Australia is 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,” Donnelly said.

“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.”

Aldi Australia director, national buying, Aaron Nolan said starting with single-use plastic is the best way to make small changes that have big benefits for the environment.

“These small changes are no small feat. We’ve been working with our Australian business partner BioPak over the past year to trial and test a variety of materials to find the right solutions and bring a non-plastic tableware replacement into the market later this year,” Nolan said.

“We know our customers will be delighted at the new look and feel of the range that supports an environmentally friendly lifestyle.”

Find the entire report here.

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