Source: Lidl

Lidl is going it alone with a city-wide deposit return scheme, while government plans are beset by delay.

The discounter is piloting its own scheme across Glasgow. Customers can claim a 5p reward, redeemable against their next shop or as a charity donation, for every eligible empty plastic or aluminium drinks container returned to a reverse vending machine in any of the 21 Lidl stores in the city.

No deposit has been added to the retail price of relevant products, meaning the initiative is strictly a reward scheme, rather than a deposit return scheme.

Lidl is also accepting bottles and cans purchased from any retailer, as long as they are clean and uncrushed, with no limit on the number of rewards that can be claimed. Rewards directed to charity will go to The STV Children’s appeal, which Lidl has supported since 2011.

Read more: Deposit return scheme delay suggested as part of ‘fit for purpose’ recycling plan

Lidl has been trialling DRS in Scotland since 2021 but until now it has been in just four stores.

Its latest move follows the delay of the Scottish government’s DRS from an original go-live date of 16 August 2023 until October 2025 at the earliest, in line with the rest of the UK.

Lidl said its initiative would ensure that in the meantime shoppers could benefit from the infrastructure it had put in place in stores in advance of the government scheme.

It makes Lidl the first supermarket to launch such a scheme covering an entire city.

The supermarket expects a minimum 10.5 tonnes of plastic and aluminium to be recycled each month as a result, with the potential to roll out the pilot even further.

“We’re on a mission to eliminate all unnecessary waste, and with over 95% of our own-brand packaging now recyclable, reusable, or refillable we’ve been making great progress,” said Lidl GB chief commercial officer Richard Bourns.

Read more: Inside Ireland’s new deposit return scheme

“We know that Lidl shoppers share this passion, and we hope that utilising this infrastructure, which might otherwise have been left dormant, will help to make recycling their cans and bottles even more convenient for them. With our extra incentive thrown in, and no cap on the number of items that can be recycled, it’s a win-win for all.”

Lidl’s reverse vending machines accept single-use drinks packaging made from either polyethylene terephthalate (or PET plastic) or aluminium, of between 100ml and three litres in size. They must also have a readable barcode to scan at the point of donation.

Dairy items, such as HDPE plastic milk or yoghurt drinks, Tetra Pak, paper-based cartons, glass or pouches are not eligible.

These are the Lidl stores taking part in the scheme, which launches today (8 February):

  • Maryhill
  • Duke Street
  • St Rollox
  • Baillieston
  • Crookston
  • Darnley
  • Tollcross
  • Govan
  • Bearsden
  • Pollokshaws
  • Balmore Road
  • Jamaica Street
  • Victoria Road
  • Rutherglen
  • Partick
  • Yoker
  • Giffnock
  • Finnieston
  • Barrhead
  • Robroyston Retail Park
  • Anniesland