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
warned that Lidl’s new bins have not taken this information into

“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
in relation to Sick of
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.

About the Author

Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.

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