A letter to... Aldi
by Sophie Benson
It all started with a tweet.
@AldiUK why do you package your fruit and veg in so much unnecessary plastic? A single aubergine in a plastic bag seems insanely wasteful.
ALDI: Hi Sophie, thanks for your feedback. We will pass this on to the relevant teams. Thanks.
SOPHIE: Do you have any information on exactly why you individually wrap your fruit and veg though? And who are the 'relevant teams'? Thank you!
ALDI: Hi Sophie, please pop us a DM and our customer service team will be in touch directly. Thanks.
SOPHIE: Thank you, I'll do that now :)
SWIFTY MOVED TO DIRECT MESSAGES BY ALDI.
Hi, I tweeted you about the use of plastic wrapping earlier this morning and you asked me to send a DM. Let me know if you'd like any more info as I'm really keen to find out more about 1. why you use single use plastic so much and 2. if you're considering ways to reduce it. Thank you so much for any information you can offer, Sophie
Hi Sophie. Thanks for your message. Aldi is committed to driving improvements in packaging and follows the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle in our approach. We have recently become a signatory to Courtauld Commitment 3, a voluntary agreement aimed at reducing the environmental impact of packaging and food waste. We work closely with our packaging partners to identify opportunities for improving our packaging in a way that minimises our impact on the environment, this includes increasing both the recycled content and recyclability. We also require all our own label products to carry the relevant recycling logo on pack, to give customers the information they need to guide their recycling. This ensures that as little waste as possible ends up in landfill after products have been used by customers. In addition, ALDI’s target to send zero waste to landfill has already been achieved ahead of schedule; currently 100% of cardboard, paper, plastic film and foil from stores and warehouses is recycled. Once again, thank you for contacting Aldi Customer Service and we hope this reassures you that Aldi takes the reduction of packaging waste seriously. Thanks again. Pete - Aldi UK Twitter Team.
Thank you for you reply. It's great to see the steps you are taking to reduce waste, but it doesn't quite answer my question about why you are packaging your fruit and veg in single use plastic. So why is this? In particular I was astounded by single aubergines packaged in film plastic that cannot be recycled by local authorities. Why not just sell them loose? While your zero waste efforts are admirable, I feel that you have a responsibility for reducing post-consumer waste too and I've noticed a distinct drop in the amount of fruit and veg that is available to buy loose. So, no, I'm not yet reassured and I do feel that you can do more. For example, you mention that 100% of your plastic film is recycled. If you have the ability to do that why not - at the very least - open this up to customers so they can drop their used plastic in to be recycled by ALDI? Kind regards,
Hi Sophie. Thanks for your reply. We will look into this for you and will be back in contact in due course. Thanks again. Pete - Aldi UK Twitter Team.
I really appreciate that. Thanks so much, Sophie
You're welcome, Sophie. We'll be back in touch as soon as we can. Thanks again. Gemma, Aldi UK Twitter Team
Hi Sophie. Thanks for your patience in us coming back to you. We have looked in to this and can advise. In most cases we keep our single items loose where durability permits, Aubergine is a particularly delicate skin and thus we put it in packaging to protect it from damage. Pineapples, Melons etc are all without packaging. Please be assured your comments have been fed back for future consideration. We hope this information helps. Thanks again. Katie, Aldi UK Twitter Team.
Hi Katie, thanks for getting back to me, I really appreciate that you've taken the time to look into this for me.
I understand the point you make about delicate skin but I don't think it necessarily warrants such waste when the world has managed without wrapping fruit and veg until very recently. I would love to see a return to more plastic-free approach because until then it limits what I, and many others, are willing to buy from you. For example, in store yesterday there were no package-free apples or oranges so I simply didn't buy any. I'd love to see a loose option alongside packaged goods.
Also, is there any real likelihood of an in store recycling scheme (as I previously asked about) so customers can take advantage of your zero waste policy?
Thank you, Sophie
Hi Sophie. Thanks for your reply. We do appreciate your further comments and will make sure that they are logged and fed back. Although we can't confirm the likelihood of an in-store recycling scheme being adopted across our stores, please be assured that your suggestion has been passed on for future consideration by the relevant party. Thanks again for getting in touch. Gemma, Aldi UK Twitter Team
Is it just me or does it always feel like these large companies just want us to shut up and go away?