When it comes to reducing single-use plastics, ALDI tops the list among grocery chains

With 1,864 stores across the nation and growing, popular grocery retail store ALDI has been ranked in first place above all others when it comes to reducing single-use plastics, although there is still much more work to be done.

At this point, people around the world are recognizing more and more the threat that single-use plastics pose to our environment, our wildlife and our own health.

This plastic waste has reached every corner of the planet, even the most remote places. It’s choking our oceans and killing marine animals such as turtles, dolphins, fish and birds. Whales are dying more frequently from swallowing plastics, especially microplastics, which are pieces of larger items that have broken down over many years.

Up and down the food chain has been contaminated with the stuff and it’s getting inside our bodies and wreaking havoc.

Actions are being taken around the globe to curb the use of single-use plastics, but one of the top culprits of these plastics dominating our world is grocery retail stores.

Now, these store chains have been taking action, ALDI being the top dog of the bunch that also is switching to 100 percent organic produce.

But the Greenpeace report that ranked them took pains to stress that despite ALDI being the highest ranked because it “aims by 2025 to reduce its private label packaging material by 15% (by sales weight) as well as use 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging for its private label products,” ALL of the stores evaluated “received failing scores” and are being urged them to do more.

All retailers profiled in this report received failing scores, indicating how much work is needed to urgently address the plastic pollution crisis. Current initiatives range from painfully inadequate to small steps in the right direction. While a few companies have invested effort in reforming some areas of their overreliance on plastic, not one has done enough to tackle the growing plastic pollution crisis. Unfortunately, most retailers do not even know the extent of their plastic footprints, as they fail to track the plastic packaging of their suppliers or even their own private label products.

“Grocery retailers across the country sell obscene amounts of products in throwaway plastics every single day, yet none of them are acting with the urgency needed to address the pollution crisis they’re causing,” Greenpeace Plastics Campaigner David Pinsky said about the report. “Not only do these companies have the resources to reimagine their stores with refill and reuse systems, they can use their buying power to pressure consumer goods companies … to act as well. The question is whether retailers will take responsibility for this mess, and act.”

“It’s not enough for a retailer to eliminate plastic straws or make small changes to produce bags and walk away from this issue,” he continued. “Retailers must develop comprehensive public policies to eliminate single-use plastics, and remain transparent with customers as they implement those plans.”

Soon, these stores will likely have to follow the law and stop selling singe-use plastics anyway now that Canada and Europe are taking broad action. These companies might as well take preemptive action by changing store policy before the United States does the same. That would not only be a smart environmental choice, but a smart business move as well.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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