Aldi trialling loose pasta and rice to cut down on packaging

It could eliminate more than 21 million pieces of packaging annually from its stores

Popular budget supermarket chain Aldi is trialling a new scheme to reduce plastic packaging waste by selling loose pasta and rice products.

The trial has begun at one store in Ulverston in Cumbria and sees basmati rice, brown rice, penne pasta and wholewheat fusilli available to purchase loose from the “Pasta and Rice Refill Station”.

The products are sold by weight and the instructions at the refill station are simple:

  1. Take a bag
  2. Fill it
  3. Label it
  4. Pay at till

The free brown paper bags Aldi provide for filling are recyclable and made from sustainable Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified materials.

These household staples are the first packing-free product the supermarket has sold and if successful, similar initiatives may be rolled out to more stores in the future.

It could eliminate more than 21 million pieces of packaging, equating to around 130 tonnes of waste annually from its stores.

Aldi’s Plastics and Packaging Director, Richard Gorman, said: “Customers at our Ulverston store can now buy the same high-quality items they know and love, while also cutting down on plastic packaging.

“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.”

This scheme comes as part of Aldi’s 2020 commitment to halve the amount of plastic packaging it uses by 2025, removing 74,000 tonnes of plastic packaging.

Since January 2019, the supermarket has claimed to be carbon-neutral and is on course to ensure all Aldi own-brand products are recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022. It aims to do the same with all branded items it sells by 2025.

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