6 August 2020
By Mary Bermingham
Aldi Ireland today announced that customers in Wilton, Cork will be among the first in Ireland to take part in trialling new reusable fruit and vegetable bags made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. From 10th August, customers can purchase the reusable bags designed to hold fresh fruit and vegetables for just €0.49 per bag at Aldi’s Wilton store.
Sturdy, breathable and washable, the mesh drawstring bags are ideal for buying, carrying and storing fresh fruit and vegetables, including heavy or bulky items. Each bag purchased will benefit the environment in a tangible way, helping to keep more plastic bottles out of landfill and further reducing people’s need for single-use plastic bags. Aldi is already in the process of removing 10 million single-use produce bags from circulation throughout its store network, replacing these with domestically compostable bags made from pasted corn starch.
The reusable bags will be displayed in store using a dedicated stand, which is also 100% recyclable and made from 30% recycled material. These cardboard stands will be placed next to the produce sections of participating stores, making it easier for customers to see when shopping in the fresh fruit and vegetable aisles.
This move is the latest step towards Aldi’s overall plastic reduction programme, which aims to reduce plastic packaging by 50% by 2025 and have 50% of plastic packaging to be made of recycled content by 2025. So far, Aldi has removed over 600 tonnes of plastic from its Core range.
The introduction of the trial comes as customer demand for fresh produce continues to prevail as customers seek out healthier lifestyles and rediscover home cooking, especially in recent months. For example, since mid-March when lockdown began, sales of fresh vegetables increased by 8.4%, with the most produce bought in May at 18.8 million units, underscoring the trend for home-cooking from scratch. A total of 68 million units of fresh fruit and veg have been sold over lockdown to date, some 4.8 million units more than the same period last year, an increase of almost 8%.
Commenting, John Curtin, Aldi Group Buying Director, said:
“In the last year, we have completely overhauled Aldi’s range of shopping bags to introduce eco-friendly options that are compostable, reusable and recyclable where possible. We’re excited to be adding reusable fresh produce bags made from 100% recycled plastic bottles to select stores on a trial basis, as customers increasingly shop for loose fruit and vegetables on a need’s basis. It’s all part of Aldi’s ongoing work towards our goal of reducing plastic packaging by 50% by 2025 and we’re hopeful that customers will respond positively to the move.”
Richard Foskett, Store Manager at Aldi’s Wilton store, said: “All the team here at Aldi’s Wilton store are delighted we were chosen to lead this new trial. Sustainable shopping is something we hear customers talking more and more about, and we’re looking forward to hearing any feedback our customers may have over the coming weeks.”
The trial runs for an initial 4-week period across the following Aldi stores: Ardkeen, Carrick-on-Suir, Castlebar, Castleisland, Dungarvan, Dunmanway, Limerick, Nenagh, Portumna and Wilton.
To date, Aldi has implemented a series of changes across its product offering with a major focus on the removal of plastic. This includes introducing compostable and recyclable packaging in its fresh herb range, replacing black plastic trays with cardboard trays in its Specially Selected tomato range, moving all 1ltr fresh Irish milk to fully renewable and plant-based packaging, and introducing three new environmentally friendly bag options in its stores, saving the use of 12.5 million plastic bags annually.