Retailer Aldi today announced that it has launched a trial that will measure consumer response to packaging-free products.

The refill trial is available at one store in Ulverston, Cumbria in the UK, but if successful, Aldi will look to develop its refillable options in other stores in the future.

Four household staples – basmati rice, brown rice, penne pasta and wholewheat fusilli – are available to buy loose in-store.

The retailer predicts that, if fully developed, this initiative could remove more than 130 tonnes - or more than 21 million pieces - of plastic annually from stores. The products are available by weight, and Aldi will provide customers with free paper bags that it says are fully recyclable and made of FSC-certified material.

Richard Gorman, plastics and packaging director at Aldi, said: “Customers at our Ulverston store can now buy the same high-quality items they know and love, while also cutting down on plastic packaging.

“We’re always looking for new ways to reduce waste plastic and limit packaging, as many of our shoppers are increasingly conscious of the environment and their impact on it. We hope local customers embrace the trial and we will use their feedback to inform any future plans around refillable products.”

In 2020, Aldi announced its commitment to halve the volume of plastic packaging used by 2025. The company projects that this will see it remove 74,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from products over the next five years.

The supermarket, which has been carbon neutral since January 2019, also says that it is on track to have all own-label products as recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022, and branded products sold at Aldi by 2025.