Supermarket giant Aldi has told its suppliers that in order to reach their shelves and be purchased by the end-customer, their packaging will have to be 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable within the next five years, adding that this is “non-negotiable.”
The announcement came via Aldi UK’s CEO, Giles Hurley who penned a letter stating that products could ultimately be removed from supermarket shelves if they don’t meet the criteria. Aldi itself has made a pledge to make the packaging of its own branded products the same level of reusability by 2022.
Hurley made an unapologetic statement to its suppliers, adding that the company’s buying decisions are set to be “based on our supply partners’ ability to lead and adapt in this area.”
“Following receipt of this letter, your Aldi buying director will contact you directly to discuss what tangible actions you will take… I request that you speak openly with your buying contact to actively explore all opportunities to develop more innovative packaging solutions and deliver on our packaging commitments,” Hurley added.
The CEO noted that recent steps like cardboard packaging were a “great start”, but reiterated to suppliers that “we want to work with you to trial alternative materials, innovate new packaging solutions and crucially, be open-minded to all options. I look forward to seeing the progress that we can achieve together, in this business-critical area.”
According to a report from Supermarket News, “because more than 90% of its product range is Aldi-exclusive, the retailer has the ability to influence how its products are sourced, produced and delivered to shelves. The company says it is committed to working with its supplier community to achieve a series of comprehensive packaging goals.”
This list of goals includes a commitment to making 100% of Aldi packaging - including a plastic package - reusable, recyclable or compostable, reducing the amount of packaging by 15%, as well as making sure 100% of packaging includes a ‘How2Recycle’ label for the consumer by the end of this year.
Aldi USA’s CEO, Jason Hart said that “Aldi has never offered single-use plastic shopping bags. And while we’re pleased that we’ve helped keep billions of plastic grocery bags out of landfills and oceans, we want to continue to do more. The commitments we’re making to reduce plastic packaging waste are an investment in our collective future that we are proud to make.”
The company estimates that by not offering single-use plastic bags in the US at the checkout, they’ve saved 15 billion bags from entering landfills and the ocean. A year ago, the company teamed up with How2Recycle to produce a standardized label that encourages the consumer to recycle, and the company has said that it has saved 250,000 tons of paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal through an in-house recycling program.