Here's what Aldi is doing to promote environmental sustainability

Shopping at Aldi can already be a challenge if you forget to bring your recyclable bags with you. But it could become even more of a challenge because the grocer has signed on to the US Plastics Pact, which seeks to eliminate unneeded plastics, promote the use of plastics that are reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and make sure those plastic items stay in the economy and out of the environment.

The pact, as a whole, is ambitious. Aldi and other members of this landmark, innovative agreement have promised to contribute to four goals that need to be met by 2025 (via Produce Blue Book). These goals include defining a list of packaging that is considered "unnecessary or problematic" by 2021 and eliminating them by 2025; transitioning so that all its plastic packaging is 100 reusable, recyclable, or compostable; recycling or composting 50 percent of plastic packaging, and ensuring that the recycled content or bio-based content in plastic packaging is at 30 percent.

Aldi is already ahead on the plastic front since it hasn't offered any single-use plastic bags in more than 40 years. In a press release, the company estimates that this decision has kept an estimated 15 billion single-use plastic bags out of landfills and the world's oceans.

Aldi's commitment to eliminating plastic waste is global

Aldi US' VP of corporate buying, Joan Kavanaugh stressed that the company's commitment to eliminating plastic waste is non-negotiable: "The global impact of plastics use cannot and should not be ignored by any business. At Aldi, we've already begun finding ways to eliminate the plastics we don't need and are innovating to uncover ways in which the plastics we do need can be kept in the economy and out of the environment — but we want to do even more."

Aldi's drive to reduce its plastic footprint goes beyond US borders. Earlier this year, the chief executive for Aldi UK, Giles Hurley, wrote to the store's suppliers of third-party brands, to warn them that they would be delisted unless they get behind the chain's 2025 plastic packaging promises (via Edie). He warned that the plastic pre-condition was non-negotiable and that future buying decisions "will be based on our supply partners' ability to lead and adapt in this area." Hurley also said that since the Aldi took this pledge in 2018, 2,700 metric tons of plastic and 3,700 metric tons of materials that either cannot be recycled or are difficult to recycle have been replaced with alternatives.