Packaging plays a vital role in protecting and preserving products, reducing food waste, and reducing emissions through efficient transport. However, we know that it is having an impact on the environment - from excess or heavy packaging, to littering, to plastic pollution entering our oceans. We are committed to tackling these issues and working towards a more circular economy.
Reduce own label plastic packaging by 40% relatively against a 2017 baseline.
Reduce own label packaging by 25% relatively against a 2019 baseline.
100% of own label & branded packaging to be recyclable, reusable, refillable or renewable (90% by 2023).
In 2018, we set ambitious targets for packaging and have made significant progress against them. We work collaboratively with our suppliers and industry to critically assess each and every pack we put on our shelves against the following principles:
Removal and Reduction
Wherever possible, we remove plastic and packaging altogether. Where packaging is needed, we ensure it isn't unnecessary or excessive.
Where appropriate, and where unintended environmental consequences are avoided, we will switch plastic with alternative materials.
To date, we’ve:
Removed the most problematic plastic packaging types, such as black plastic, PVC and EPS, from our own-label core food ranges.
By dispensing with overlids from dairy pots, for example, we’ve taken 38 million pieces of plastic off our shelves to date.
We’ve also removed plastic from fruit and vegetables - including 10 million stickers on bananas and 20 million tags from spring onions.
Reuse and Refill
We're constantly exploring reusable and refillable options to reduce single-use packaging in-store.
Recycled Content and Recyclability
Circularity is vital to us. We design our packaging with end-of-life in mind, ensuring it is easier to recycle.
We're also working to increase the amount of recycled content in our packaging, ultimately lowering the amount of virgin materials we use.
To date, we’ve replaced the majority of plastic wrapping with card on multi-sales of tins. We've also swapped out flow wrap on 600 tonnes of mushroom trays for a recyclable material and are rolling out new, clear and consistent pack labelling that makes recycling easier for our customers.
Tackling ocean plastics
We recognise the key role that our business plays in tackling the detrimental impact that plastic is having on our oceans. That's why in 2020 we were the first GB retailer to introduce Prevented Ocean Plastic into some our packaging. Prevented Ocean Plastics use discarded water bottles collected on or near the beaches and coastlines of Southeast Asia.
By incorporating this recycled content into some of our packaging - including on fresh fish and meat as well as our prep fruit - we have prevented the equivalent of over 15 million water bottles from entering the ocean. Read more about this project here.
Our refill machine
In October 2022, Lidl GB launched a trial of the UK's first on-shelf smart refill machine. Customers use the state-of-the-art refill stations by selecting a reusable pouch and following easy on-screen instructions to pick their favourite laundry detergent.
This pouch is cheaper than the single-use version and can then be reused, time and time again. Read more about this trial here.
Packaging Goals 2020
2020 Status (where applicable)
2021 Status (where applicable)
By 2025, reduce own label plastic packaging by 40% relatively against a 2017 baseline
By 2025, reduce own label packaging by 25% relatively against a 2019 baseline
By 2025, 100% of own label & branded packaging to be recyclable, reusable, refillable or renewable (by tonnage)
*Relative reduction based on tonnage of plastic per £1m revenue. Further information on our progress and plastic footprints can be viewed in our CSR reports here.
70t of plastic removed
70t of plastic removed from milk bottles, with bottles containing up to 30% recycled content
Removing plastic trays
Removing plastic trays across our fruit and veg range, including tomatoes, tenderstem broccoli, asparagus and baby corn
Removed tags from fruit & veg, including our spring onions and bunched beetroot
Pizza bases replaced with cardboard
18t of expanded polystyrene pizza bases replaced with cardboard
100% recycled content
Up to 100% recycled content in trigger spray cleaning bottles and egg boxes
Prevented Ocean Plastics
First adopter of Prevented Ocean Plastics, avoiding 10 million water bottles from entering the marine environment to date
Driving circularity by incorporating recycled content, with up to 50% recycled content across our drinks range
We are removing overlids from pots in Dairy, working to remove up to 38 million pieces of plastic from the category
Removed 2,000 tonnes of problem plastics from our shelves, including black plastic, PVC and EPS
Removed 67m single use plastic straws from our beverage cartons
Plastic cotton bud stems
Removed 570m plastic stems from our cotton buds
Removed 8m single use plastic forks from our salads ranges
We are a member of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, a cross-sectoral alliance of organisations dedicated to solving the problem of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear on a global scale. The GGGI aims to improve the health of marine ecosystems; safeguard human health and livelihoods; and protect marine life from harm.
Lidl, through its parent company, Schwarz, is the first retail and technical partner for Project STOP (Stop Ocean Plastic). The mission of Project STOP is to design, implement and scale circular economy solutions to marine plastic pollution in Southeast Asia, one of the most problematic areas in the world for marine pollution. We are providing technical advice to local communities in Indonesia to help develop efficient waste management systems.
As part of the Schwarz Group, we have an opportunity to scale our impact by joining 30 other countries to REset Plastic. The Group’s plastic strategy commits us to close the loop via avoidance and redesign, recycling and removal. Innovation and education are critical to championing systemic change.
Schwarz is one of 850 organisations joining New Plastics Economy, a movement spearheaded by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
The UK Plastics Pact
Lidl GB is a founding member of the UK Plastics Pact, a trail-blazing, collaborative initiative that sees businesses, Government, local authorities and environmental organisations come together to champion a circular future for plastics.