Discount supermarket chain ALDI has become the first major U.S. grocery retailer to stop using plastic bags in all of its more than 2,300 stores.
The total phase-out of the use of plastic bags was achieved by the end of 2023. With this move, the retail chain will prevent nearly 4,400 tons, or almost nine million pounds of plastic, from entering circulation each year.
The company stated that this sustainability achievement reinforces its goal of being the environmentally friendly grocery retailer in the United States.
Likewise, ALDI announced a new sustainable goal with the decision to transition to natural refrigerants in all its US stores by the end of 2035.
Natural refrigerants will keep products fresh in stores while the supermarket chain fulfills its purpose of supporting a healthier planet.
As reported by the company, this new goal is based on using environmentally friendly refrigerants in more than 600 stores, helping ALDI save almost 60% of potential carbon emissions each year.
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“As one of America’s fastest-growing retailers, we take our responsibility to lead the industry in sustainability seriously, so our customers don’t have to choose between shopping responsibly and saving money,” said Jason Hart, CEO of ALDI.
“Eliminating plastic shopping bags from our stores and transitioning to environmentally friendly refrigerant systems not only help us protect the environment, but they also help reduce costs, which we then pass on to our customers. These decisions help our customers feel good about shopping at ALDI, and our employees feel proud to work here,” Hart added.
With its rapid growth across the country, ALDI will deploy a purchasing strategy that incorporates the best refrigerant solution for each region’s distinct climate – including both carbon dioxide and propane refrigerants, two ultra-low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants.
Beginning this year, ALDI will purchase environmentally friendly refrigerants for all new and remodeled stores and replace the current refrigerants in existing stores with refrigerants that have low global warming potential.
In 2023, ALDI once again received the EPA’s GreenChill Store Certification Excellence recognition for its environmentally friendly refrigeration practices, achieving the most certifications at the platinum level of all participating U.S. grocery retailers.
The EPA also awarded 109 ALDI stores in 17 states with GreenChill Store Re-Certification Excellence, recognizing these locations for five consecutive years of platinum-level certifications.
Through this program, GreenChill food retailers like ALDI maintain emissions rates that are approximately half the industry average, resulting in a significant benefit to the environment.
“ALDI continually shows its commitment to the environment by minimizing refrigerant emissions at stores, including the 109 stores that have been recertified in 2023 for the fifth year in a row at the platinum level,” said Cindy Newberg, Stratospheric Protection Division Director at the EPA. “ALDI is leading the way with over 600 GreenChill certified stores, a GreenChill record!”