Retailer Aldi has announced that it is extending its trial to remove plastic from some fresh vegetables as part of its aim to reduce its packaging.
The supermarket began selling five loose fresh produce lines without plastic wrapping in Scotland earlier this year.
It is estimated that this move, if rolled out across all of its 830 UK stores, would avoid the use of more than 100 tonnes of plastic annually without increasing food waste.
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The trial, which applied to loose savoy cabbage, red cabbage, white cabbage, pointed cabbage and cauliflower, has already saved more than three tonnes of plastic.
Aldi is now planning to extend the trial into England and will begin selling plastic-free cabbages and cauliflower in parts of the North East and South East from nearly next month.
If the trial is successful, it plans to roll out the plastic-free produce lines to all stores before the end of the year.
The supermarket has also completed the removal of all non-recyclable black plastic from its core range of fresh fruit and vegetables.
It is hoped that this move will cut or replace more than 300 tonnes of black plastic a year with clear, recyclable alternatives, and is part of Aldi’s aim to remove all difficult to recycle packaging from its food range by the end of next year.
Aldi UK and Ireland managing director of corporate responsibility 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 latest initiatives are part of the retailer’s work to meet its plastic and packaging goals, which include aiming to remove all hard-to-recycle plastics such as PVC and expanded polystyrene from its food range by 2020
Other pledges include ensuring all own-label packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022, and reducing plastic packaging by 25% by the end of 2023.