Aldi is going green by adapting the How2Recyle label across all of its private brand products within the next two years, according to Environmental Leader. The label states which products can or cannot be recycled and what steps consumers need to take to properly divert each item.
This is the first step the company is taking towards its larger initiative to reduce waste sent to landfills across its stores and warehouses.
- The How2Recycle label is an initiative run by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, a collaborative that promotes eco-friendly packaging across industries. The label is already used by hundreds of retailers and can be found on thousands of products, most recently by Colgate Palmolive and the LEGO Group.
Aldi is one of the fastest-growing supermarket chains in the U.S., but it needs to balance that growth with sustainability initiatives that address both marketing and operations. The How2Recycle program is a highly visible education program that addresses a key shopper concern while requiring minimal lift from the retailer.
The question is, could the program's adoption precede future changes in Aldi's packaging? Ninety percent of the products sold in Aldi’s stores are private label, meaning the grocer has a large influence over how the products are packaged, sourced and delivered to its stores.
At the very least, the program should help boost customer engagement. Consumers are more eco-aware now than ever before. They're ditching plastic straws and toting reusable bags with them when they shop. And research shows they are more likely to buy from brands that take a stand on environmental issues. According to a recent study, millennials are the driving force behind corporate sustainability as the generation makes it a priority when shopping. More than nine in 10 millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause.
The How2Recycle label was created by The Sustainable Packaging Coalition for an array of reasons: to keep recycled products from ending up in landfills, to help standardize recycling labeling, and make information easy to comprehend.
The label is currently being used by many recognizable companies including Wegman’s, Kellogg, McDonald’s, Nestle Waters’ half-liter bottles, and Proctor & Gamble’s Dawn dishwashing liquid. Wegman’s, the first retailer to adopt the How2Recycle label, includes the label on all plastic carryout bags and plastic materials throughout the stores including deli and produce bags.
Reducing waste has become a priority for retailers, with companies like Kroger and Walmart leading the charge. As consumer concerns over excess packaging and food grow, and as the business case for reducing waste becomes clearer, expect retailers to step up their involvement in the months and years to come.