Lidl UK has announced a raft of measures on plastic waste, including scrapping 5p bags by next year and making 50% of own-brand packaging recyclable by 2025.
Own-brand plastic packaging would be cut by 20% by 2022, the discounter said. The 50% that wasn’t “widely recyclable” by 2025 would either be “reusable, refillable or renewable”.
It follows a similar commitment from rival discounter Aldi this week to scrapping 5p bags this year and using only recyclable, reusable or compostable plastic packaging for own-brand products by 2022.
Lidl said it would stop selling 5p reusable carrier bags “from the end of 2018”, having scrapped single-use bags last year. Customers would instead be offered 9p bags-for-life, a move that would eliminate 67 million bags and 134 tonnes of plastic produced each year, Lidl said.
“Widely recyclable” referred to materials for which at least 75% of UK councils offered kerbside recycling collections, the retailer said.
By “reusable” and “refillable” the announcement meant it would be possible to put the packaging to another purpose, a spokeswoman said.
It would mean a “circular programme, ensuring that no plastic ends up as waste”, Lidl said.
A deposit return scheme for plastic bottles was being “considered” as part of the approach.
Like Aldi earlier this week, Lidl also said it was a founding member or the UK Plastic Pact, a new cross-sector initiative from Wrap, the scope of which has yet to be announced.
“We’re proud of our clear, ambitious targets for the reduction of plastic waste,” said Lidl UK CEO Christian Härtnagel. “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.”