UK-based supermarket chain Aldi has started testing its first soft plastic collection facilities.

The facilities are being tested at 20 of the company’s stores in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Greater Manchester.

Customers can deposit all types of clean, soft plastics at the collection bins, regardless of where they were purchased.

Materials that can be deposited include crisp packets, salad bags, bread bags and carrier bags.

The retailer and its recycling partner will come up with plans on how to process the collected plastics.

Aldi UK plastics and packaging director Richard Gorman said: “We know our customers are environmentally conscious and as a responsible retailer, we are always striving to reduce plastic waste wherever possible.

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“Our latest trial is another step in the right direction as we work towards being able to offer shoppers an option to bring problem plastic, which might not be recycled by their local councils, back to our stores.”

“We will be monitoring the trial closely and we hope that customers utilise our collection bins so that we can look at expanding this into more stores.”

WRAP strategic engagement manager Helen Bird said: “While plastic bags and wrapping make up around a fifth of consumer plastic packaging, only 6% of it is recycled.

“In future years, local authorities will collect this material for recycling, but in the meantime, supermarkets are able to provide recycling points for plastic bags and wrapping to the many citizens who want to recycle all that they can.

“It’s great to see Aldi trialling how this can be achieved.”

The soft plastic collection trial is part of Aldi’s initiative to reduce plastic waste.

Plans to expand the collection bins across all of Aldi’s more than 900 UK stores will be based on the success of the pilot programme.

Aldi has also committed to making all its own-label packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2022.

Last month, the retailer started testing its first packaging-free products at a store in Ulverston, Cumbria.

The store is selling loose basmati rice, brown rice, penne pasta and wholewheat fusilli, available by weight.

Customers can carry the products in fully recyclable paper bags provided by Aldi for free. The bags are made of material certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).