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Aldi.jpeg Aldi will cut approximately 4,400 tons of plastic out of circulation annually. / Photo courtesy: Getty Images

Aldi achieves goal of cutting plastic shopping bags

The fast-growing grocery chain also plans to convert to environmentally friendly refrigerants by 2035

Discount grocer Aldi has removed plastic shopping bags from its more than 2,300 stores, the grocer announced Wednesday. 

The Batavia, Ill.-based grocer, which set a goal of cutting the plastic shopping bags from its stores by 2023, called the achievement a “landmark moment for the industry,” as the no-frills grocer becomes the first major U.S. retailer to eliminate plastic bags. 

The elimination of plastic bags from its stores means Aldi will cut approximately 4,400 tons of plastic out of circulation annually. 

“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 Aldi CEO Jason Hart, in a statement.

Aldi also announced that it has set a new sustainability goal of using natural refrigerants at all of its locations by the end of 2035. The grocer said it already uses natural refrigerants in over 600 of its stores. 

Aldi plans to  purchase carbon dioxide and propane refrigerants – both of which are ultra-low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants – based on the best refrigerant solution according to each region’s distinct climate. 

Aldi said it also will use environmentally friendly refrigerants at all of its new and remodeled stores beginning this year. The company has already opened three stores – in Lombard Ill., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and Visalia, Calif. – in January, so far, and 14 others in December.

The company touted its commitment to environmental sustainability, noting that in 2023, the grocer earned the EPA’s GreenChill Store Certification Excellence recognition for its use of environmentally friendly refrigerants. The EPA awarded 109 stores in 17 states with platinum certification for its sustainable refrigeration efforts, the company said. 

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