A few months ago, I stopped shopping at Aldi – partly because every other grocery store in my area has better sales each week and partly because [nearly] all of Aldi’s produce is wrapped in plastic.
BUT, today was one of those days when a killer avocado sale happened to coincide with my desperate need to restock toilet paper and the promise of being in and out in ten minutes sealed the deal.
[I also appreciate that I can seat both of my toddlers next to each other in the front of the cart. AND I don’t get a bunch of weird looks when I bring my own bags.]
For being the first big grocery chain I have ever heard of to not offer bags, I’m surprised that they aren’t a little more eco friendly in the produce aisle…but I don’t know a thing about the grocery business. I’m sure there is a reason that a 2lb plastic bag of honeycrisp apples costs $2 and two pounds of loose honeycrisp apples costs $4.
Anyway, I did what I could and here is what I got:
Gallon of milk – plastic carton will be recycled. I am still unable to convince my husband to trade milk for a non-dairy variety. And I still haven’t convinced myself to buy milk in glass containers – but that day is coming. I would really like to find a refillable situation from a local farm, but haven’t found one yet. Does that even exist anymore?
Cartons of eggs – cardboard containers will be recycled or composted. I plan to buy my eggs as part of my farm share this summer and just refill my carton each week, but in the meantime, we buy only cardboard cartons.
Box of pasta – I didn’t have to buy this, but I wanted it to make lemon butter shrimp pasta later this week with shrimp we were given…and the box will be recycled. I don’t have the tools necessary to make any pasta noodles besides lasagna at this point.
Toilet paper – plastic wrapping will be recycled via store drop off and the tubes will be recycled or composted. I am still working on bringing my husband around to the bidet idea…
Loose produce – bananas, pineapples, avocados, cucumber – all loose and at decent prices. In general, I have found Aldi’s produce prices [even on sale] to be pretty terrible compared to local produce sale prices. Every part of these foods that aren’t eaten will be composted. The stickers are the only waste.
Romaine lettuce – I couldn’t find a single type of lettuce that wasn’t packaged in plastic, so I got this bag of romaine which seemed to have the greatest lettuce to plastic ratio. The plastic bag will be recycled via store drop off – but it still makes me kind of sad.
Sauce, pesto, syrup – all in glass bottles. Aldi offers cheaper pasta sauce and syrup in plastic bottles, which I passed on. Glass is a great material than can be continually reused and recycled.
As I was shopping, I passed all the usual stuff that I used to buy every week – pretzels, applesauce, salad dressing, yogurt, cottage cheese, bread, buns – but I make all that stuff myself now.
The stuff I can’t make, I buy. The stuff I buy, I try to find without packaging. The stuff that I can’t find package-free, I try to find in sustainable packaging like glass or cardboard.
That’s my [nearly] zero waste game plan. It has some weaknesses and I’m not perfect [still super far from storing my annual waste in a jar] but these small attempts at mindfulness when I’m shopping go a long way over the course of time.
🛒 🛒 🛒
4 thoughts on “[Nearly] Zero Waste at Aldi”
I love reading your ideas .. I can honestly say that I am probably the biggest “Zero Waste” failure. I think that is partly due to being so busy and because I simply don’t find the items I purchase to be that impactful to the earth BUT each time I read I am reminded of how the littlest thing (like toilet paper roll) could and should be recycled. Also, do you guys have curb side recycle pick up or do you have to sort and take your recycling to a special location? I used to have curbside pick up and did recycle them BUT I no longer have that at my new house and have stopped recycling. 😦
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Yes, we do have curb side pickup – but if you don’t have that option then I totally get that it would be inconvenient. I didn’t start recycling until two years ago even though I’ve always had curbside pickup, 🤦♀️ which is embarrassing to admit. But everyone has different passions and different causes they want to champion…I guess mine is becoming recycling lol 🤷♀️ (never thought i’d day that!) You’re not a failure – just have other things to focus on right now. …But it would make me happy if you did start recycling the toilet paper rolls 😁😁😁
This is an interesting take on aldi shopping. I too stopped shopping there because of the amount of packaging but find their prices so hard to beat. I try to get most of my produce at the farmers market, so that makes an impact. I wish they would do something about the plastic though.
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I agree. I wish they would avoid the plastic too. Farmers market is definitely ideal. I also participate in a CSA during the summer/fall which significantly reduces packaging. 👍🏻