Supermarket Aldi has announced plans to get rid of plastic bags entirely and replace them with either paper or compostable carrier bags.
From July this year, half of all Aldi stores in the UK will offer paper bags, while the other half will offer compostable carrier bags.
At the end of the trial, the most popular bag among shoppers will then be rolled out to all Aldi stores in the UK, to be offered alongside the store’s other reusable bags.
Whichever bag ultimately gets used in the long run will help save up to 1,300 tonnes of waste per year, the equivalent of 33.3 million plastic bags, the Mirror reports.
The compostable bags are made of a bio-degradable material called Bioplast, and are designed to be completely domestically compostable, breaking down within 12 months. The bio-degradable bags will cost 6p, while the recyclable paper bags will cost 19p.
Managing director of corporate responsibly at Aldi, Fritz Walleczek, said:
Reducing the amount of plastic we produce is fundamental to our commitment to being a sustainable and environmentally responsible business. This trial will identify the option which best suits our shoppers.
Cutting waste is part of Aldi’s DNA and we are constantly looking for new ways to reduce our environmental impact. This new trial is one of the biggest we have ever launched because we want our customers to be involved and help us make the right decision for them and the environment.
As well as the new bag initiative, Aldi is set to pledge to reduce its plastic packaging by 25 per cent by the end of 2023.
In a bid to make its customers cut down their use of plastic bags, one supermarket in the Canadian city of Vancouver has designed ’embarrassing’ bags they hope will make customers remember to bring a reusable one.
Designs bear slogans such as ‘Into The Weird Adult Video Emporium’ and ‘The Colon Care Co-op’ in a bid to put off customers from using them.
Meanwhile, in the UK, Waitrose is trialling a new system to encourage customers to bring their own containers for almost all food items.
The trial, called ‘Unpacked‘, sees items such as pasta, cereals, coffee and rice distributed from dispensers in the store, rather than from the usual packaging and containers.
The supermarket chain also claims it will be the first to offer ‘pick and mix’ frozen fruit, which will be available to purchase using customers’ own containers.
The trial is running in one store in Oxford at the moment, but if it’s successful, the scheme will be rolled out to more stores across the UK at a later date.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.