Supermarket chain Aldi has strengthened its efforts to cut down plastic waste production by introducing a ban on single-use plastic bags. The chain’s stores in the UK and Ireland will eliminate its five pence ($0.07) plastic bags and will provide its customers with the option to purchase “bags for life” and reusable bags made out of back-of-store plastic waste, FoodBev Media reports. The recycled plastic bags will be sold for £0.09 ($0.13) each.

Aldi is working to make all the packaging on its own-label products recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2022. Earlier this year, Aldi UK and Ireland also set the goal to reduce operational food waste by 50 percent by 2030. To achieve this, the company has set up a task force made up of internal and independent experts.

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“Our customers trust us not only to offer them high-quality products at unbeatable prices, but to help them lead healthier, better lives,” said Matthew Barnes, CEO of Aldi UK and Ireland. “That includes reducing waste, particularly around unnecessary packaging and plastics that damage the environment we live in. While we cannot do this alone – and call on others to collaborate with us and others to drive change industry-wide – we are committed to doing all we can to lead the way and to bring our customers on this journey with us.”

The chain has pledged its support to a cross-sector initiative set up by the charity Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). “We welcome Aldi taking positive action to reduce plastic waste,” said Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP. “Through WRAP’s new ambitious, cross-sector initiative, which will be unveiled soon, we will work together with governments, citizens and business to transform the way we make, use and dispose of plastic so that we retain its value, particularly in reducing food waste, but prevent it from polluting the environment.”

Aldi has charged for single-use plastic bags since the opening of the chain’s first UK store in 1990, but this new step will undoubtedly help them reduce their plastic footprint in a very meaningful way!

Every year, over 8.8 million tons of plastic waste enter the world’s oceans and there is no more denying that we have a major crisis on our hands. The good news is we can all take action to combat plastic pollution, and a lot of that action starts with us! To find out how you can help by making conscious choices when it comes to using plastics, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign.

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Image source: Mike Mozart/Flickr