PAPER bag poised at the ready, I fill up with coffee beans – and best of all, they’re cheaper than a normal Aldi.
I’m at the budget supermarket’s new eco-friendly store where shoppers can buy a small selection of package-free products – nuts, seeds and coffee – at lower prices.
4Senior consumer reporter Lucy Alderson had a bit of trouble using the special filling stationCredit: Nigel Iskander
4There’s a recycling point at the front of the store, for hard-to-recycle itemsCredit: Nigel Iskander
The shop opened on September 29 in Leamington Spa, Warks, and when I arrive in the morning at 9am, it’s already bustling with shoppers.
Just like normal Aldi stores, the middle aisle is there, you have to pack your bags yourself, and there’s red-stickered discount items lining the shelves.
But what’s different about this shop is that it uses less than half the energy of a normal store, and shoppers can save money from some green initiatives.
There’s a machine near the checkout where you can bring your own containers, or use the free paper bags provided, to stock up on wrapping-free items.

Not only do these items help reduce waste, they are at least 5% cheaper than equivalent packaged items sold in shops, Aldi claims.
The supermarket hopes to roll out more eco-friendly stores like this if it proves a success with shoppers – and it could end up saving us money on our weekly shop.

It’s made a number of environmentally green changes this year – including the removal of plastic wrapping from multipacks of baked beans.
It’s already trialled package-free pasta and rice filling stations at one store in Cumbria.

I’m here to check out if going green is better for the planet – and your wallet too.
Cheaper prices
4Kathryn Hibberd loves her coffee, so would use the filling station next timeCredit: Nigel Iskander
I snake my way through the aisles to the opposite end of the store, where the new package-free filling station is.
I’m here to check out whether prices of nuts, coffee and seeds really are as cheap as Aldi says they are.
There are 12 pods filled with loose coffee beans, almonds, hazelnuts, chia seeds and more.
All the coffee on display is 75p per 100g – and I’m looking to fill up on espresso beans.
When I looked up the cost of the exact same coffee sold in Aldi stores in packages, it was priced at £1.79 for 227g, which is around £1.58 for 100g.
That means you can get the same quantity of coffee for 83p less using the refilling station.
Hazelnuts are priced at 85p per 100g, whereas online, 120g packets cost £1.79 which works out at £1.49 per 100g  – 64p more expensive.
The price is certainly appealing, so I grab a bag and tuck in.
I follow the instructions on the screen telling me how to fill up – but I’m embarrassed as seven attempts in, and I still can’t get the machine working.
I’m not the only one a bit baffled about how to use it.
Jay Crabtree, 37, who works in marketing, struggled using it.
“It was quite difficult to use initially,” she said – but she’s impressed by the prices.
She buys 424g of Espresso coffee beans for £3.18. “I’ve definitely got more in here than what I would get usually – I would definitely use it again.”
Content creator and dog walker Kathryn Hibberd, 29, walked straight past it.
“I didn’t even see it, it’s really tucked away and the lower prices need to be better advertised.
“But I love my coffee, so I’ll definitely be using it.”
Aldi isn’t the first supermarket to trial selling package-free items.
Back in 2020, Asda launched a sustainability store near Leeds where shoppers could bring their own containers to stock up on rice, pasta, tea bags and detergent.
Waitrose offers refill stations for key products in some stores including ones in Oxford and Cheltenham.
While Waitrose gives extra reward points to customers who bring containers to take home meat and fish.
“Handy” recycling points
4Caroline Mullis is using the recycling point in storeCredit: Nigel Iskander
At the entrance of the store is a recycling point that shoppers can use to get rid of hard-to-recycle items.
This includes crisp packets, coffee pods, cosmetic rubbish and pill packets.
Other supermarkets have already been rolling out recycling stations for shoppers to use.
Tesco rolled out plastic waste recycling points in nearly 200 stores last year.
Morrisons has already rolled out drop off rubbish collection points for hard-to-recycle soft plastics like sweet wrappers and pet food pouches; hard plastics such as yogurt tubs; and mixed materials like crisp tubes and coffee pods.
I spot pensioner Caroline Mullis, 72, with her son Gordon McFadyne, 50, recycling some of their rubbish.
She’s used the point to recycle fruit peel and batteries.
It’s a “handy” feature, she said.
“This is my second time here – I’ve noticed it’s cheaper using the refilling station, I’ve got more for my money,” she added. 
Going green
Wrapper-free food and recycling points aren’t the only green features at this store.
There are solar panels on the roof, as well as electric vehicle charging ports in the car park – although you have to pay to use them.
Doors have been put on refrigerated sections – something you won’t usually see in other Aldi stores – which helps to lower energy bills too.
All these energy saving measures are helping the store slash its energy usage by 57% – but Aldi wouldn’t share exactly how much it is saving from this.
I asked Aldi whether the savings it will make on its energy bill will be passed onto customers, who are facing sky-high energy costs and soaring food prices due to runaway inflation.
The store’s chief executive for UK and Ireland Giles Hurley hinted at cheaper prices when the new store was unveiled.
He said: “Many of the changes made to this store, whether it be the energy-saving initiatives or our latest packaging-free trial, could allow us to put even more money back into the pockets of our customers.”
But customers won’t be making savings on items other than the package-free goods right now.
I compared prices of products including milk, cheese and bacon against normal online prices and found there was no price difference.
Packets of 14 rashers of Oakhurst streaky bacon cost £1.99 in store – the same price you would pay online.
A 4-pint bottle of milk costs £1.55 both in the store and online, 12 pots of fromage frais will cost the same at 80p, as well as Greek style salad cheese, which is 70p.
My verdict
Shoppers seem pleased overall with this new green Aldi store.
Despite a few teething problems getting to grips with the refilling station, shoppers who have managed to use it have been impressed by prices.
But it’s only nuts, seeds and coffee that are cheaper – not everyday fridge staples like cheese, milk and bacon.
Aldi said it may roll out more energy saving measures to other stores if this store in Leamington Spa proves to be a success. 

We’ll have to see whether more stores like this will be hitting high streets soon.
If they do, it could help us all cut the cost of our weekly grocery shop.