Aldi has launched is first packaging-free trial, allowing customers to fill their own containers with household staples.
Basmati rice, brown rice, penne pasta and wholewheat fusilli are now available loose from a bank of dispensers.
The trial has been launched in a single store in Ulverston, Cumbria, but Aldi is already contemplating rolling it out, in a move that could save a claimed 130 tonnes of plastic annually from stores.
A number of supermarkets have experimented with selling products packaging-free, including Waitrose, with its ‘Unpacked’ refill range in four stores, and Asda at its ‘sustainability store’ in Middleton. However, Aldi is thought to be the first discounter to make the move.
Its new range of packaging products are sold by weight and are slightly cheaper than the packaged equivalent. Worldwide Basmati Rice is currently listed at £1.29 per kg packaged on Aldi’s website, while the price on Aldi’s dispenser is £1.19 per kg. The penne pasta and wholewheat fusilli cost 5p less per kg from the dispensers, while the brown rice is 4p cheaper.
Paper bags are provided free of charge at the Ulverston store for customers who have not brought their own container.
“Customers at our Ulverston store can now buy the same high-quality items they know and love, while also cutting down on plastic packaging,” said Aldi plastic and packaging director Richard Gorman.
“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.”
Last year, Aldi committed to halving plastic packaging by 2025, requiring the elimination of 74,000 tonnes of the material over five years.