Lidl UK says it will remove black plastic from its entire fruit and vegetable range by the end of the month

It also plans to remove black plastic from its fresh meat, fish and poultry range by August next year, it announced on Friday. Black plastic packaging will be replaced by alternatives, which Lidl says will be fully recyclable – this could include clear plastic. The moves are part of its plans to make 100% of its own-label packaging – which it says will only be used where necessary – widely recyclable, reusable or refillable.

Why Just Black Plastic?

Black plastic packaging is not recyclable in the UK, as it cannot be detected by the sorting systems used for plastic recycling. The supermarket chain says its move will save an estimated 50 tonnes of black plastic waste a year.

Nobody is expecting to go ‘cold turkey’ on plastic, making this is a positive first step. Black plastic is difficult to sort and it seems ridiculous to think we are still producing so much plastic that can’t be recycled.

Sounds Like a Good Move, But Aren’t We Just Replacing it With the Lesser of Two Evils?

In an ideal world, we would like to use 100% plastic-free packaging. We have used plastic for so long that it is in our everyday lives too often to completely remove it. But we do hope supermarkets use a bit of common sense here and eradicate plastic where it isn’t necessary. For example, the plastic sleeve you get on various fruit & vegetables. Supermarkets are the place where the majority of our single-use plastics come from, so Lidl making these changes so rapidly shows the government & other retailers that speedy action is possible.

It is also worth noting that not all clear plastics are recyclable, but Lidl has said it will replace their own label packaging with 100% recyclable packaging.

We hope to see all supermarkets take note and follow the example set by Lidl.