Concerns raised over Lidl’s new plastic recycing bins

April 15th, 2019

Concerns have been raised about a new plastic-fighting initiative by Lidl Ireland that campaigners say may cause confusion over what plastics that can be recycled.

Last week, the supermarket chain unveiled new in-store recycling bins for its customers to dispose of their excess plastic waste.

The move is part of the supermarket chain’s targets of 20 per cent less plastic packaging by 2022 and having 100 per cent recyclable own-brand packaging by 2025.

The launch came days before a nationwide Shop and Drop campaign kicked off on Saturday to encourage shoppers to leave their plastic waste behind kicked off. Over 50 supermarkets were targeted this weekend.

Sick of Plastic, the organisers of the campaign, expressed concern that Lidl’s new plastic recycling stations transgress the State’s advice for items suitable for recycling bins.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth (FoE) said that the recycling stations set to be installed in Lidl stores are in conflict with My Waste Ireland’s new recycling list.

The recycling guide introduced by Environment Minister Richard Bruton TD was devised to tackle contamination in recycling bins.

Mr Bruton had also participated in the unveiling of Lidl’s new recycling stations last week telling RTÉ that the initiative “sends a signal through the supply chain to reduce unnecessary packaging”.

My Waste Ireland guidelines indicate that not all “clear plastic is recyclable”. Claudia Tormey of Sick of Plastic warned that Lidl’s new bins have not taken this information into account.

“According to My Waste Ireland soft plastic cannot be recycled in Ireland, only rigid plastic can be recycled,” she said. “This will only confuse customers even more, waste management is already a mine-field.”

Acknowledging the supermarket’s eco-friendly intentions and commending their commitment to protecting the environment, Ms Tormey called on Lidl to stay in line with the country’s recycling recommendations.

“It’s great to see Lidl respond to customer demands, but it might be better for them to mirror the household waste so customers can dispose of their unwanted packaging correctly in-store.”

My Waste Ireland took to Twitter in relation to Sick of Plastic’s concerns, stating that the labelling on Lidl Ireland’s recycling bins “doesn’t match the now standardised national list or categories”

“What is classed as clear plastic?,” My Waste Ireland wrote, adding that “perhaps Lidl Ireland could shed some light.”

In a statement to The Green News, Lidl Ireland said that minimising single use plastic and other packaging is a “core objective” of the chain, with the introduction of in-store recycling stations the “latest step” on the “journey to tackle the important issue of plastic waste”.

“Clear guidance on what items can be recycled will be displayed on all recycling stations that will be introduced to all stores in the coming weeks to avoid any confusion for consumers,” the statement continues.

The supermarket has also increased its loose fruit and vegetable range and continues to “test and trial the removal of packaging throughout the range”, the statement reads.

This includes removing plastics on Fairtrade organic bananas and replacing it with a biodegradable banding that Lidl Ireland said saves 10,000 kilos annually.

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