Aldi stops selling reusable plastic bags in push towards paper

Aldi is now selling paper bags instead of plastic in an environmental push.

Aldi is now selling paper bags instead of plastic in an environmental push. Photo: Getty

Aldi shoppers can now purchase only paper bags for their groceries as the German supermarket chain joins its Australian rivals in phasing out reusable plastic bags.

Aldi said on Thursday that it had stopped selling its 15-cent plastic bags would was instead offering a 25-cent paper bag that customers could recycle in their personal bins.

A more durable 99-cent bag – made from “80 per cent recycled material” – is also available, alongside Aldi’s $2.49 cooler bags.

Aldi estimates the switch will remove 888 tonnes of plastic from circulation annually, with the chain’s sustainability director Daniel Baker claiming it was a win for the environment.

“Aussies are continuing to make more conscious choices, and we want to continue meeting their needs,” he said on Thursday.

“Ultimately, bringing your own bags every time you shop is the most sustainable option.

“We encourage customers to continue doing so, but when they can’t, our paper bags are now available.

“These may seem like small changes, but they all add up to making a big difference.”

The move came after Woolworths removed 15-cent reusable plastic bags from stores in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania back in April, following earlier removals in all other parts of the country.

Coles also phased out such bags last year, replacing them with 25-cent paper bags nationwide. The last of its plastic bags will be gone by the end of June.

Aldi said its more expensive recycled plastic bags would remain available to provide “an additional level of reusability for when shoppers need to restock bulky and heavy items”.

Aldi will continue to offer the last of its 15-cent plastic bags until they’re sold in the next few months.

The Germany-headquartered supermarket chain promised to reduce its plastic packaging use by 25 per cent in 2019 and has already stopped around 4000 tonnes of waste being introduced.

Controversy over Aldi forest partner

Aldi said the paper for its bags was certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council, a massive international body that endorses sustainable logging.

The supermarket signed a wide-ranging deal with the FSC back in 2020.

However, the FSC has come under criticism over the past two decades, including over claims it certified companies that have engaged in destructive logging across Indonesia.

Back in 2007, the FSC was forced to disassociate from Indonesian pulping giant Asia Pulp and Paper after it was found to be destroying native forests.

The FSC also courted fresh controversy last year when it relaxed rules prohibiting the certification of logging companies with long histories of deforestation, a move advocates at the Rainforest Action Network fear has opened the door to big polluters such as APP signing up again.

The FSC defended the move as allowing it to play a role in restoring forests, with companies required to attempt to remediate forests they played a role in destroying between 1994 to 2020.

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