In the last few years, there’s been an increasing amount of focus on the amount of packaging companies are using, and the effect it’s having on the environment. Supermarkets in particular have been under the spotlight, and campaigners have called for there to be tighter regulations on food packaging. This includes the idea that supermarkets should be made to publish their plastic waste figures.
The impact plastic waste has on the environment is the key concern. And following a rising amount of concern from consumers, many supermarkets have stepped up when it comes to fighting plastic waste. Following pledges from supermarket giants Asda and Tesco, Lidl is the latest supermarket to announce its plans to reduce the amount of plastic packaging it’s using in its stores.
Lidl’s pledge is to remove black plastic from all of its fruit and vegetable packaging. Black waste is not recyclable in the UK. This is due to the optical sorting systems not being able to detect the black carbon pigments, which are used to give the plastic its colour. Lidl say that by replacing the black plastic used in its fruit and veg packaging, it could save as much as 50 tons of waste every year.
According to Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner for Greenpeace UK,: “Supermarkets are the place where a lot of the throwaway plastic filling up our homes comes from, so it’s good to see more of them are responding to the public’s concern by taking action. Black plastic is one of the most problematic forms of plastic you can find on supermarket shelves, and Lidl are doing the right thing by phasing it out as quickly as possible.
“This is a clear signal to both our government and other major retailers that we don’t have to wait decades before getting rid of problem plastic. This is only a start, but the faster we act the easier it will be to protect our environment from the scourge of plastic waste.”
The discount supermarket chain will be the first in the UK to remove black plastic from its packaging. The products it will be removed from include mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower and others; it will be implemented later in the month. Lidl has also promised to remove black plastic from other products next year including meat, fish and poultry.
Ryan McDonnell, Lidl’s Commercial Board Director, said in a statement: “This significant move away from black plastic demonstrates our dedication to tackling this important topic. We recognise the current challenge that black plastic presents to the recycling industry, which is why we have made it our priority to remove it from our fresh ranges.
“As part of our commitment to achieving our ambitious targets, we are continually exploring opportunities to cut our packaging, and where packaging is necessary to protect food and minimise food waste, we will ensure that it is reusable, refillable or recyclable.”