The machines will enable customers to deposit used plastic beverage bottles and aluminium cans in return for money-back vouchers redeemable in-store, the retailer explained.
A first in the Irish retail industry, Lidl’s reverse vending machines will aim to redirect 1,500 tonnes of plastic annually that will then be manufactured into new products.
In Line With Government Objectives
The trial is the beginning of a larger rollout across Lidl’s store network with an ambition of having a nationwide scheme in place by 2023 in line with government objectives, the company said.
Commenting on the launch, Eamon Ryan, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications said, “The support of the Irish public, and a willingness to adapt behaviours, will be essential if we are to successfully transition to a circular economy in the coming years."
"The reverse vending machine, which Lidl is launching today as part of a pilot Deposit and Return Scheme (DRS), is a welcome development," he said.
It will enable the public to interact with a live Deposit and Return Scheme system, while providing valuable feedback that will help in the roll-out of a nationwide Government-led scheme next year," Minister Ryan added.
Reverse Vending Machine
The reverse vending machines are simple to use and will accept both plastic PET drinks bottles and aluminium cans purchased at Lidl and in other retailers.
The discounter explained that for every unit deposited a customer will receive a €0.10 voucher in return with a maximum voucher limit of €2.
According to Lidl, the machine can collect and process up to 17,000 units a week which is representative of approximately 1,500 tonnes in a year when rolled out to it’s 170 stores nationwide.
The move underscores Lidl’s position as an industry leader in sustainability, ensuring Ireland delivers on its promise to implement the Irish Government’s Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy with a simple, cost effective solution.
Speaking at the launch of the trial, J.P. Scally, CEO of Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland, said, “Sustainability is at the core of our business, and we are exceptionally proud to be first-to-market with this industry leading approach to a Deposit Return Scheme.
"As a retailer with a significant footprint across the country, we have an opportunity to drive real change where consumer habits are concerned, and hope that our trial will help to support and inform other retailers, large and small, in their efforts to roll out the nationwide scheme in line with legislative changes in 2022," he added.
Following an initial trial period in Lidl’s Glenageary store, the retailer plans to roll out the machines to its wider store network across the country, which is sure to allow Lidl’s 1.5 million weekly customer base lend itself as the perfect test bed for intelligence gathering ahead of the legislative changes due in 2022.