Lidl POP Sparkling Water Bottles

Source: Lidl

Lidl is to start using plastic waste recovered from coastal areas in Southeast Asia to make own-label water bottles.

From July, one-litre San Celestino Italian Sparkling Mineral Water bottles will be at least 30% made from the material, in a move Lidl says will prevent almost 100 tonnes of plastic from entering oceans per year.

Lidl started using ocean-bound plastic in food packaging in 2020, and has since rolled it out across a range of own-brand fresh fish, breaded poultry, sausage and fresh fruit products, saving a claimed equivalent of more than 15 million plastic water bottles from entering the ocean.

The initiative uses discarded water bottles found in Southeast Asia within 30 miles of a coastline or major waterway feeding the ocean, which is then sorted and processed to be used in new packaging. The process, in partnership with Bantam Materials, is fully traceable with a robust documented chain of accountability, according to Lidl.

“Ocean plastic pollution is a pressing environmental concern – it is expected that by 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish,” said Shyam Unarket, Lidl GB head of responsible sourcing.

“As pioneers of integrating ocean-bound plastic into our packaging in 2020, we have been consistently building and improving on our efforts since, and are proud to now extend prevented ocean plastic into water bottles.

“Through this latest product development, we hope to inspire wider efforts across the industry.”

Aldi has also been using recycled ocean-bound plastic in some food packaging, since 2021.

In November 2021, Iceland announced a plan to “offset its entire remaining plastic footprint” by using recovered waste from coastal areas in developing countries, in partnership with Seven Clean Seas. However, the following July the supermarket said it would not be possible because it would mean putting up prices.

Lidl also today became the latest supermarket to announce a move to swap coloured caps on all its milk bottles for clear ones, which are said to be easier to recycle. The discounter started using clear caps on its semi-skimmed fresh milk last year, in partnership with supplier Müller. The move is to be extended across the rest of its milk range over the next two months.

It follows similar moves by other retailers including M&S, Aldi, Waitrose and Co-op.