Aldi customers in Greater Manchester are among the first to be able to deposit their “soft” plastics, which are difficult to recycle, in their branches as part of the supermarket’s first attempt at its collection points for these materials.

The fifth largest supermarket in Great Britain offers collection bins at the entrances of nine shops in Greater Manchester, where customers can deposit clean, soft plastic packaging.

With the vast majority of UK municipalities currently not collecting soft plastics, the collection bins offer customers the ability to return all types of these materials – including crispy parcels, salad bags, bread bags and tote bags – regardless of the location of the items purchased. Aldi will then work with its recycling partner to find the best ways for the plastics to be processed.

If the trial is successful, the collection bins will be rolled out in all of Aldi’s more than 900 UK stores, giving customers the option to recycle their soft plastics.

The experiment with flexible films is the latest step in reducing plastic waste by the supermarket, which is also working towards making 100% of its own label packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2022.

Richard Gorman, Director of Plastics and Packaging at Aldi UK, said: “We know that our customers are environmentally conscious and as a responsible retailer we strive to reduce plastic waste wherever possible. Our latest attempt is another step in the right direction as we work towards enabling customers to bring problematic plastics back to our stores that may not be recycled by their local authorities.

“We will be closely monitoring the study and hope that customers will use our collection bins so we can try to expand them to other businesses.”

Helen Bird, Strategic Engagement Manager at WRAP, said: “While plastic bags and packaging make up around a fifth of plastic packaging for consumers, only 6% of it is recycled. UK Plastics Pact members, who represent the vast majority of plastic packaging sold by supermarkets, have committed to making all of them recyclable by 2025.

“In the years to come, local authorities will collect this material for recycling. In the meantime, supermarkets can provide recycling points for plastic bags and packaging for the many citizens who want to recycle everything. It’s great to see Aldi trying how this can be achieved. “

Full List of Participating Stores in Greater Manchester:

White field
Heaton Chapel
Rochdale
Didsbury
white city
Glossop
Oldham
Poynton
Stretford

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