Aldi introduces Blister Pack Recycling Scheme in the UK

Aldi introduces Blister Pack Recycling Scheme in the UK

Thomas Reiner | 14.02.2024

Aldi UK, in collaboration with TerraCycle, is pioneering a blister pack recycling scheme for its own-label medicines, a first in the UK supermarket sector. The initiative represents an interesting stride in addressing the recycling challenges posed by blister packaging, traditionally a complex mix of plastic and aluminum. Through this trial, Aldi demonstrates its commitment to expand its sustainability initiative but also explores consumer engagement in recycling processes.


Customers shopping at Aldi UK supermarkets can now return their used blister packs by sending them in an envelope with a Freepost shipping label, available through Aldi’s website. This process allows for up to two envelopes per customer each month, which can be posted at any Royal Mail Post Office or post box. TerraCycle, known for its innovative recycling solutions, will then process these materials, transforming the plastic and aluminum foil into recycled raw materials for new products, such as nuts and bolts, plastic waste bins, and outdoor furniture. This keeps the materials out of general waste streams.


Environmental Impact and Customer Engagement

The trial aims to assess customer demand for a dedicated recycling solution for blister packs, which are typically not recyclable through standard curbside programs and end up in general waste. Luke Emery, Plastics and Packaging director at Aldi UK, emphasizes the supermarket’s ongoing efforts to promote recycling and reduce environmental impact. This initiative invites customers to actively participate in a more sustainable disposal of their medicine packaging.


Industry Perspective and Support

Julien Tremblin, general manager at TerraCycle Europe, highlights the importance of removing pharmaceutical packaging from landfill and incineration, seeing this collaboration with Aldi UK as a step towards creating a more circular packaging chain. The trial will be closely observed by many since Blister packs are a product that cannot currently be recycled at the kerbside and are instead disposed of in general waste. Voices from the UK based WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) state that the potential ability to recycle this type of packaging into raw material with the perspective to use in new products, is highly anticipated among UK Plastic Pact members, to which Aldi belongs as well.


Broader Industry Movements

The Aldi-TerraCycle scheme aligns with other sustainability initiatives in the retail sector. Marks & Spencer, in partnership with HANDLE, has launched a Beauty Takeback Scheme for hard-to-recycle beauty packaging. Additionally, consumer research by City to Sea and Re by Beauty Kitchen suggests a growing interest in prefilled returnable packaging systems among eco-conscious consumers.



The Aldi and TerraCycle blister pack recycling scheme is a noteworthy experiment in sustainable packaging solutions, reflecting the ongoing industry trend towards environmental responsibility and circular economy principles. As the trial unfolds, it will be crucial to monitor consumer participation and the effectiveness of the recycling process itself in diverting traditionally non-recyclable materials from landfills. The trials Success in this area could inspire broader adoption of similar recycling initiatives.

Image Source: © Aldi UK

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