So, I don’t know if all of you are aware, but a new chain grocery store, Aldi, has opened up in Mount Pleasant. Its cheap, basic, and super efficient. Aldi is a German-owned chain that happens to be under the same ownership as Trader Joe’s, my preferred grocery store.
I really liked to see some of the things that they were doing to maximize efficiency and sustainability while keeping costs low, however I think there’s room for improvement. On their website, they say that “Everything we do from our smaller, energy-saving stores to recycled bags and cartons capture the very essence of conservation”. While it is true that Aldi does not give free bags at checkout, they sell reusable bags that are made of thin plastic and are definitely not sustainable. These are sold for 10 cents, which isn’t quite expensive enough to really discourage anyone from getting them. Furthermore, I noticed that all of the products they sold came with copious amounts of packaging. They use plenty of plastic bags and other non-recyclable materials, so there’s definitely room for improvement in regards to sustainable packaging. I also noticed that half the store is dedicated to meat and dairy products. The products were inexpensive, which sort of indicates factory farming to keep costs low. They had no local items in the store, which shows that most of these items had been transported long distances, which increases carbon emissions.
I’m sure its very challenging to run a grocery store on sustainable principles while still turning a profit, but that doesn’t give Aldi the right to lead customers on about their sustainable principles. I believe it’s convenient for them to declare themselves ‘environmentally friendly’ because it coincides with their efficiency agenda. It’s important to not just reduce consumption on a minute level, but to change the ways altogether and have truly sustainable practices.