Supermarket chain Aldi is extending a trial to remove plastic packaging from certain fresh vegetables in its stores in England to meet its plastic and packaging pledges.
The move follows a successful trial in Scotland earlier this year, which saw the supermarket sell five plastic-free fresh produce lines – Savoy cabbage, red cabbage, white cabbage, pointed cabbage and cauliflower – saving more than three tonnes of plastic.
Aldi estimates that if the plastic-free initiative were introduced in all 830 of its stores in the UK it would save more than 100 tonnes of plastic a year without increasing food waste.
The trial selling plastic-free cabbages and cauliflower will start at the beginning of July in the North and South East of England. If the trial is successful the supermarket will roll out plastic-free produce lines to all of its stores by the end of 2019.
Aldi UK and Ireland corporate responsibility managing director Fritz Walleczek said: “The trial of so-called ‘naked’ vegetables has had a very positive reception in Scotland and as a result we’re now looking to extend this trial into two of our regions in England.
“Cutting waste is at the heart of what we do. Where we can, our aim is to remove unnecessary plastic entirely without leading to unnecessary food waste. Where we can’t do that, we are committed to ensuring that packaging doesn’t end up as waste by ensuring that all ours is recyclable, reusable or compostable.
“It is initiatives like this that will help us achieve this goal and is a measure of our determination to be as sustainable and environmentally responsible a business as possible.”
The supermarket removed all non-recyclable black plastic from its main range of fresh fruit and vegetables from August last year, replacing more than 300 tonnes of black plastic a year with clear and recyclable alternatives.
Aldi has also pledged that own-label packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022 and will reduce plastic packaging by 25% by the end of 2023.
Aldi is the latest supermarket chain to have plastic-free fruit and vegetables in its stores with Morrisons announcing earlier this month plastic-free areas in its stores.