Aldi UK has established a partnership with technology company, Polytag, to improve the traceability of its packaging recycling.
Working with Polytag means invisible UV tags created by the Wales-based tech firm will be placed on Aldi packaging from July 2023. As part of the trial, the Biffa Teeside recycling centre will scan QR codes on the packaging materials to help the retailer begin to understand how much of its materials are recycled.
Essentially, this data will allow the retailer to track an item’s journey through its entire lifecycle and accurately calculate the quantity of its packaging that is actually recycled.
Sustainability starts with transparency, as we often say on Green Retail World, and this is another example of a retailer looking to get a clearer view of how its practices impact the environment.
Aldi has not revealed which of its packaging will contain the invisible UV tags, but Polytag has been working with Co-op Food to understand how many of its plastic own-brand water bottles make their way into recycling centres. Polytag also works with Ocado, which puts tags on the online grocer’s two- and four-pint plastic milk bottles – the pilot is part of the company’s pioneering work in testing the viability of a deposit return scheme in the UK.
Aldi UK plastics & packaging director, Luke Emery, commented: “We are constantly working to be a more sustainable retailer, so we are excited to see how Polytag’s data will enable us to access and analyse more data around our packaging lifecycles and use these learnings to accelerate our progress towards our sustainability goals.”
Last month, Aldi joined the UK’s Refill Coalition and intends to launch refill stations for dried goods such as cereals and pasta in its stores, which would reduce the need for packaging and subsequent packaging recycling.
Polytag CEO Alice Rackley remarked: “Leading retailers in the UK are awake to the fact that the only way we will truly tackle the waste problem in this country is by using data.
“Gaining access to real-time packaging lifecycle information will be a game-changer, enabling retailers to develop a greater understanding of their products’ journey and make meaningful progress towards their sustainability pledges.”
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