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Saving more than 60 million boxes in 2017

Study: Aldi Süd - reusable crates are saving the environment

The Aldi Süd Group saved more than 60 million cardboard boxes in 2017 alone through the use of reusable crates for the transport of fruit and vegetables.

The environmental benefits of reusable transport packaging were recently confirmed in a life cycle assessment study by the renowned Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT. Since 2010, Aldi Süd has used MTV for fruit and vegetables. "The study has confirmed that we have taken the right path and are making a significant contribution to resource conservation," says Laura Stienen, Logistics Manager at Aldi Süd. Since the introduction of reusable crates, Aldi Süd has saved a total of more than 380 million boxes, which would otherwise have had to be disposed of as waste after use.



"The use of reusable transport packaging contributes to resource conservation and greenhouse gas savings and reduces the need for cardboard packaging. The study proves this conclusively,” said Markus Hiebel, Head of Sustainability and Resource Management at the Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT.

Resource conservation through reusable and closed material cycles
Since 2010, Aldi Süd and a service provider have operated a closed returnable pooling system for the transport of fruit and vegetables. Empty and clean reusable transport packaging will be sent to suppliers throughout Europe. Fruits and vegetables arrive in these boxes in the Aldi Süd branches. There, the collapsible empty boxes are collected and bundled returned for cleaning to the service provider. Defective reusable crates are repaired or can be processed to reclaim, which in turn is used to produce new crates. Aldi Süd plans to extend the use of reusable transport packaging in order to further reduce the use of disposable cardboard packaging.



Reusable box with good ecological balance
For 2017, Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT carried out the study "Life cycle assessment of reusable transport packaging (MTV) and disposable transport packaging made of paper/cardboard". The study concluded that Aldi Süd, together with its fruit and vegetable suppliers, was able to save more than 24,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents and more than 30,000 tonnes of cardboard by using reusable transport packaging. This corresponds to the weight of around 60 million boxes. In ecological comparison, the refillable boxes for fruit and vegetables outperformed the one-way variants in terms of all potential environmental effects analyzed. These included, for example, negative impacts on water, water consumption, ecotoxicity and the consumption of raw materials.

Aldi Süd wants to reduce packaging material
Where ever it can, Aldi Süd works to reduce packaging material or make operations more sustainable. Over the past five years, the discount store has already reduced its total sales packaging for private labels by eight percent - with increasing sales figures. Also, the obligation to waive all disposable bags by 2019 was a logical step to a complete reusable principle in the carry-bag assortment. In addition, Aldi Süd is the first German grocery retailer to enable the use of reusable cups on its hot drinks machines and provides reusable cup users with up to 20 percent more content. Another contribution to the prevention of waste is the nationwide supply of loose fruit and vegetables in all Aldi Süd stores. From the second quarter of 2018, the discounter will also test grass paper and sugar cane trays as packaging alternatives for organic tomatoes.

Source: Aldi Süd

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