LONDON: Lidl UK has announced bold new plans to tackle the issue of plastic waste across its stores. The food retailer is now aiming to use 50 percent recycled materials within its own-brand packaging by 2025 and is also phasing out 5p reusable bags from its stores. Last year it removed all single-use bags from its shops, and by the end of 2018 it will only offer 9p longer lasting bags. It estimates this could remove 67 million bags and 134 tonnes of plastic each year.
Lidl also hinted at the possibility of introducing a Deposit Return Scheme as part of new circular economy initiatives it is considering. The idea of customers being able to return plastic bottles is popular and effective in other European countries, but has so far been met with a muted response from the major UK retailers. A Greenpeace survey last year showed only Iceland and Co-op backed the idea.
Other commitments Lidl is making include reducing 20 percent less plastic packaging and 100 percent of its own-brand packaging will be “widely recyclable, reusable, refillable or renewable” by 2025.
Christian Härtnagel, the CEO of Lidl UK said, “We’re proud of our clear, ambitious targets for the reduction of plastic waste. We have looked at plastic packaging in the context of our wider sustainability commitments and strongly believe that our circular approach will deliver a long-term solution.”
“We want to create a major shift in the way that packaging and plastics are used, to ensure that these resources are recovered and retained, eradicating plastic waste and moving us towards a truly circular system in the long term. We know our business and the wider industry needs to take big steps to achieve this; that’s why we have set clear and ambitious targets, not only to ensure that our packaging is completely recyclable, but that we are driving demand for this material by driving recycled content”, he added.
The news is the latest move from UK supermarkets which have started to compete against each other on sustainable initiatives. Asda and Iceland have both introduced measures to curb plastic waste across its stores in the past few months. Aldi is also planning to halve food waste in its stores by 2030.