Aldi makes major packaging change to fresh fish produce – here’s what to know

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Aldi is introducing new packaging to its entire range of own-label fishcakes as well as crisp bakes. It comes after the discount supermarket set out plans to reduce their plastic packaging across its grocery range. 

Richard Gordon, Plastics and Packaging Director at Aldi UK, said: “These changes will see us use less packaging overall, and also repurpose plastic that could otherwise end up polluting our oceans.

“This is the latest in a series of initiatives we are rolling out to reduce our environmental impact and offer our customers even more environmentally-sustainable options when they shop at Aldi.”

The change will prevent around 76 tonnes of plastic from entering the ocean each year, which is the equivalent of over three million plastic bottles.

Aldi has also significantly reduced the size of its fish cake packaging, which will see the removal of a further 32 tonnes of plastic annually, as well as 23 tonnes of cardboard from its Specially Selected lines.

The packaging, produced by Sharpak, includes fully traceable and certified recycled waste plastic that has been collected by communities living in coastal areas across the globe at risk of ocean plastic pollution.

Raffi Schieir, Director of Bantam Materials, which supplies Prevented Ocean Plastic, said: “We developed Prevented Ocean Plastic to be part of the solution to ocean plastic pollution and are delighted to be working with Groups Guillin and Aldi to provide customers with a better plastic choice.”

Last year, the discount retailer pledged to halve the volume of its plastic packaging it uses by 2025. 

This will see the supermarket remove 74,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from products over the next four years. 

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The grocer, which is the UK’s fifth-largest supermarket, has already taken steps in cutting down its plastic use.

Customers can now look out for different labels on products which indicate whether the product is recyclable or not as well as if it is plastic free.

Labels include “Improved Product Less Packaging”, “Same Product Less Packaging”, “New Recipe Less Packaging”, “Now Recyclable”, “Plastic Free”, and “Plastic Free Punnet”.

The retailer also recently replaced its plastic drink straws with fully recyclable paper straws in a bid to cut down on plastic further.

Single use plastic straws tend to end up in landfill even when stated they are recyclable.

This is due to how small they are, but Aldi’s new paper straws are fully recyclable and made from FSC-certified cardboard.

What’s more, Aldi recently launched a soft plastics recycling scheme which allows customers to return soft plastics to store.

The recycling points are located in 20 stores across Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Greater Manchester.

The bins will accept hard to recycle packaging no matter where the customer purchased the item.

Mr Gorman said: “We know our customers are environmentally-conscious. 

“And as a responsible retailer, we are always striving to reduce plastic waste wherever possible.

“Our latest trial is another step in the right direction as we work towards being able to offer shoppers an option to bring problem plastic back to our stores that might not be recycled by their local councils.

“We will be monitoring the trial closely, and we hope that customers bring back their soft plastics to our collection bins so that we can look at expanding this into more stores to help customers recycle.”

Customers can also take advantage of its plastic-free refillable station, which launched into one UK store.

The move could see the service expand into other Aldi stores in the future.

Mr 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.”

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