a reusable story worth retelling

Sit in the average Coles or Woolies car park for a few minutes, and you’ll see a flood of plastic bags flying out of the doors. Eight or ten per trolley; double bagging to ensure the pesky things don’t split on the way home; and customers walking out with a single, small item ‘conveniently’ packaged in a bag.

But over at Aldi, you won’t see a single one. Each shopper comes with their own solution. Some bring reusable Aldi bags or freezer bags, while others use good old-fashioned wheeled shopping trolleys. You’ll also see people simply loading loose groceries from trollies straight into containers in their cars.  Aldi are also happy to let customers re-use the boxes that goods are delivered in, neatly solving two problems at once. Many customers with little to buy simply dispense with a bag altogether, discovering that it’s not actually that hard to carry a few items in their hands.

And this revolution was very easy to achieve. When Aldi opened its doors in Australia in 2001, it simply didn’t offer single-use plastic bags. Instead, customers can pay 15c for a reusable plastic bag (made from 80% recycled materials), 99c for a canvas version or $2.49 for a cooler bag.

Aldi estimated in 2009 that in a single year its approach prevented the disposal of 150 million disposable plastic bags. Just imagine the impact if Coles and Woolies were to do the same.

Alex Davidson