Back To The Future With Lidl’s Deposit Return Scheme

03 Sep 2021 | 04.22 pm

Back To The Future With Lidl’s Deposit Return Scheme

Ten cents per item fed to ‘reverse vending machines’

03 Sep 2021 | 04.22 pm

Lidl is installing what it calls “reverse vending machines” in its stores where customers will be able to return used plastic beverage bottles and aluminium cans and receive money back vouchers for doing so to spend in-store.

A first in the Irish retail industry, the machines will aim to redirect 1,500 tonnes of plastic annually that will then be made into new products. The trial will precede full introduction to the store’s network, to be completed by 2023.

For every item returned, a customer will receive a ten cent voucher, with a maximum voucher limit of €2 each visit. Each machine can collect and process up to 17,000 items a week.

Chief executive JP Scally 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.

“We have already made significant progress against our own targets of an overall plastic reduction of 20% across our own-brand packaging by 2022 by substituting all single use plastic items such as drinking straws, disposable cups, glasses and plates with non-plastic alternatives. We have also removed all plastic microbeads from our own-brand cosmetics and household cleaning products.

“By the end of this year we are committed to eliminating all non-recyclable black plastic from our own-brand products.”

Environment minister Eamon Ryan added: “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 return scheme, is a welcome development.

“It will enable the public to interact with a live deposit and return Scheme system, while providing valuable feedback that will help in the rollout of a nationwide government scheme next year. I will sign the Regulations for this scheme in the coming weeks.”

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