Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland has announced that it is the first national supermarket to achieve its goal of reducing the consumption of own-brand primary plastic packaging by 20% – one year ahead of the targeted time frame.
The announcement marks another milestone hit by the retailer as part of its ‘A Better Tomorrow’ sustainability strategy, further cementing Lidl’s position as Ireland’s most sustainable retailer.
Lidl highlighted that it had committed to reach the 20% reduction against a 2017 baseline by the end of 2022, however, it reached the target ahead of the deadline – in 2021.
The retailer calculates the plastic reduction on a revenue-adjusted basis, which allows it to continuously compare its plastic output and packaging reductions while its business grows. From 2017 to 2021 in Ireland, Lidl’s market share increased from 11.3% to 12.8%, and in Northern Ireland, it increased from 5.4% to 7.0%.
Lidl was able to reach its ambitious 20% reduction one year ahead of schedule through a number of strong initiatives, including:
- In 2020, collaborating with supplier Strathroy Dairy, Lidl’s three-litre milk bottles were reduced by 20% in weight, saving over 50 tonnes of plastic annually, without any visible difference to the packaging.
- Last year, in collaboration with its biggest fresh-seafood supplier (Keohane Seafoods), Lidl reduced the size of 11 of its own-brand fresh-seafood packages. The total plastic weight has been reduced by over 20%, which equates to the reduction of 28 tonnes of plastic from customer packaging annually.
- Lidl also collaborated with supplier Mannings Bakery Ltd to remove plastic liners from the boxes used to deliver goods to Lidl’s in-store bakeries – eliminating approximately 30 tonnes of plastic from the supply chain.
- In 2019, Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland was first to market in changing its Fairtrade organic banana packaging from plastic bags to a paper-based band, equating to the removal of ten tonnes of plastic packaging taken home by customers.
The next steps in Lidl’s ‘A Better Tomorrow’ strategy will be implemented early next year, when the market-leading retailer will be moving all its standard-assortment own-brand wet wipes to plastic-free alternatives, advancing its mission further and avoiding more than 400 million additional pieces of plastic being put on the market every year. Together with the completed initiatives, this will equate to over half a billion pieces of plastic being avoided by Lidl every year.
Commenting on the 20% packaging consumption reduction announcement and Lidl’s ongoing sustainability commitments, Elaine O’Connor, head of CSR, Lidl Ireland, said, “At Lidl, we believe it is our responsibility to offer the best service for our customers, suppliers and communities whilst also protecting resources and reducing our impact on the environment. Lidl therefore set ambitious targets to develop a more sustainable approach to packaging. We are proud to announce that we have reached one of our targets one year ahead of schedule.
“We will continue to focus on reducing our plastic packaging where it is sustainably possible, and are currently reviewing a new reduction target, to keep the focus high. We are committed to continuous progress on our other packaging targets, set until 2025, to help reduce the negative effect unsuitable packaging formats and materials have on our environment.”