The Refill Coalition is pleased to announce that Aldi is joining the fight against single-use plastic packaging.
The Refill Coalition is Aldi, Ocado, Waitrose & Partners and the supply chain solutions company CHEP and was convened in 2020 by Unpackaged, the UK’s leading refill experts, with funding from UK Research & Innovation’s Smart Plastics Packaging Challenge.
The Coalition is collaborating to co-design an innovative refill solution. If successful, the solution could play a key role in reducing the 56.5 billion units of single-use plastic packaging sold annually in the UK. 99% of plastic packaging is also made from fossil fuels which causes CO2 emissions, contributing to climate change at a time when all businesses need to transition to Net Zero.
Some retailers have introduced refill stations already, seen as a key component in tackling single-use plastic packaging waste, but an end-to-end solution is needed to achieve scale – which is why industry-wide collaboration is crucial.
The Refill Coalition’s solution will reimagine how key food staples (e.g. pasta and grains) and household products (e.g. home and personal care products) are supplied.
There is still strong customer appetite for single-use plastic-free choices when it comes to packaging; refill stations mean customers can bring their own reusable containers to buy loose products. Research shows that 71% of UK adults are open to trying refill stations, particularly women (76%) and 18 – 34s (76%).
The Refill Coalition solution is now in production and the first store is expected go live later this year, focusing on dry store goods.
Luke Emery, Plastics and Packaging Director at Aldi UK, said: “Aldi is dedicated to reducing single-use plastic, which is why we are pleased to become a member of the Refill Coalition. We look forward to working together with industry partners to offer customers even more convenient and efficient ways to shop plastic-free and drive further uptake of unpackaged products.”
Catherine Conway, Director, Unpackaged, said: “We are delighted that Aldi is joining the Coalition, strengthening the work we have already started with its unique position as the UK’s leading discounter. We look forward to launching the solution later in the year so that refills can become more accessible to UK shoppers who still want to consume less single-use plastic packaging on the items they purchase.”
Nick Cliffe, Deputy Direct of the Smart Sustainable Plastics Packaging (SSPP) Challenge, said: “Supporting refill and reuse is critical to reducing single use plastics and is one of the priorities for the SSPP Challenge. The work of the Refill Coalition is game-changing and we are delighted that Aldi has joined.”
 Greenpeace (2020) Unpacked: How supermarkets can cut plastic packaging in half by 2025
 Opinium Research (2023) Grocery Sustainability Report – Issue 2