We made the decision to discontinue the sale of many single-use plastic items including plastic drinking straws, disposable cups and glasses, plates and cutlery – with plastic-stemmed cotton buds next on the list. The single-use plastic items are being replaced with biodegradable alternatives, saving 2.2 million straws and 1.6 million plastic plates and cups and 75.1 million individual cotton buds annually.
We have published our commitments outlining that we are removing black plastic packaging from many of our category ranges. The packaging, which cannot be recycled, has already been removed from fruit and vegetable, fresh fish products, cured meat and the majority of our fresh meat and poultry. Black plastic packaging is not recycled in Ireland because recycling sorting systems cannot detect the carbon black pigment. As a result of this move from Lidl, over 60 tonnes of black plastic waste will be avoided annually from fruit and vegetables alone.
In relation to loose fruit and vegetables, we have introduced numerous additional loose options, bringing the overall loose lines to approximately 20% of our range. We must be vigilant in our approach to ensure we are working towards SDG Goal 12.3 and supporting the objectives of the Food Waste Charter. We will continue to trial the removal and adaptation of packaging whilst maintaining our zero waste to landfill commitment within our operations.
Some further highlights on our progress to date include:
Ban on microbeads in cosmetic and household products. Microbeads are defined as water insoluble solid plastic particles (5 mm or less in size) used as an ingredient in cosmetic, personal care and household products including but not limited to exfoliating scrubs, shower gels and toothpastes. Learn more about the environmental impact and our actions towards microbeads in our position paper on the topic (download below).
We have introduced customer recycling stations so customers can leave any excess packaging behind – we are the first retailer in Ireland to provide this service.
Since September 2019, we sell reusable fruit and veg bags in stores nationwide. The bags are designed to give customers a sustainable choice and reduce plastic use and waste in the long term. The ‘Green Bags’, provide customers with an affordable, reusable alternative to single-use, small fruit and vegetable bags.
Lidl Northern Ireland is part of the Schwarz Group, one of the biggest international retailers. It is aware of its responsibility towards the environment and takes it on. With Reset Plastic, the Group has developed a holistic internationally applied strategy comprising five action areas: from avoidance and design to recycling and removal up to innovation and education. In doing so the vision of “less plastic” and closed loops will become reality.
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