Last Call: Loose Pasta? Yay Or Nay?

Lots of brands have made pledges to cut down on waste in recent years. Starbucks plans to finally get around to doing something about its paper cups, for instance, and Dunkin' has ditched its use of polystyrene foam. But a new move by ALDI cuts down on plastic waste in a meaningful and beautifully simple way: it will begin a trial phase of selling loose pasta and rice from bulk dispensers at stores in the UK.

The Daily Mail explains that in a test location in Cumbria, a county in North West England, free recyclable paper bags will be provided for customers to load up on pasta and rice. If the pilot is successful and it gets rolled out to all UK locations, the move could save over 21 million pieces of plastic from hitting landfills each year. (ALDI has announced plans to halve its use of plastic packaging by 2025.)

If you shop at Whole Foods or your local grocery co-op, you might already be inured to the idea of bulk shopping. It seems to me that just about everything that can be sold this way should be, right? Sure, we can't exactly walk around with eco-bags full of loose Tide Pods, but wouldn't you love to dispense something like peanut butter into a wider, shallower container that you can actually scrape clean without feeling like Winnie the Pooh stuck in a jar of honey?

Readers, do you do much bulk/zero-waste shopping? Those types of shops are a rising trend here in Chicago, and I'd love to hear others' experiences with them. And if for some reason you're horrified by loose pasta sold from a dispenser, it'll be instructive to hear why.