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Lidl UK is opening its thirteenth and largest regional distribution centre in Doncaster.

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In a move that could remove 50 tonnes of waste a year, Lidl has announced plans to stop using black plastic across its fruit and vegetable range.

Eliminating waste

Black plastic is not currently recyclable in the UK as it can’t be detected by plastic recycling sorting systems. Over the coming weeks, Lidl will work to remove the use of black plastic across many of its fruit and vegetable range, including mushrooms, baby sweetcorn, asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower. It will instead continue to trial more loose produce across the range.

Lidl has committed further to this project, announcing its intention to stop using black plastic from its fresh meat, fish and poultry ranges by August 2019.

Focus on sustainability Commercial board director Ryan McDonnell said: “This significant move away from black plastic demonstrates our dedication to tackling this important topic. We recognise the current challenge that black plastic presents to the recycling industry, which is why we have made it our priority to remove it from our fresh ranges. As part of our commitment to achieving our ambitious targets, we are continually exploring opportunities to cut our packaging, and where packaging is necessary to protect food and minimise food waste, we will ensure that it is reusable, refillable or recyclable.”

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Lidl, the fast-growing German discount retailer, has bought a site near Leeds to build its 17th regional distribution centre (RDC) in the UK. The company currently has 12 RDCs in operation and the Leeds site is the 5th in their pipeline of new warehouses: Doncaster, Bolton, Peterborough and Luton.

The business has over 700 stores currently, supporting its market share of over 5% and growth rate of over 8%. Lidl is investing £1.45bn on expanding its UK network in 2017-2018, including two new RDCs in 2017, Exeter and Wednesbury. The pipeline of new RDCs demonstrates their commitment to continued growth from both new and existing stores over the coming years.

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Single-use plastics is a growing concern in the grocery retail industry due to its environmental impact. We are seeing increased activity in the retail and FMCG sector to reduce single-use plastics in-stores, and Lidl's sister company, Kaufland, is one of the latest retailers to make such a commitment.

Kaufland announces strategy to reduce plastics by 2025

Kaufland alongside its sister company, Lidl, launched a comprehensive 360-degree strategy to reduce single-use plastics in their stores by 2025. The retailer aims to:

  • reduce consumption of single-use plastics by at least 20% by 2025
  • increase share of recyclable packaging in private label to 100% by 2025
  • delist selected plastic items, such as straws, until the end of 2019 and offer alternatives

Kaufland will apply three core tactics in reducing single-use plastics in-store. Use of alternative packaging, increase share of recyclable products, and make some ranges or categories plastic-free.

How will Kaufland implement its 360-degree strategy?

The 360-degree strategy has a three-prong approach to reducing single-use plastics in-store.

  • Educating shoppers to adopt environmentally responsible consumption behaviour, by informing them about alternatives, causes, and recycling.
  • Set up a recycling infrastructure in and around Kaufland stores such as collection points, self-service recycling machines, and rewarding them with discount coupons.
  • Work with the suppliers to reduce SKUs with single-use plastic packaging and encourage use of sustainable packaging.

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