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First supermarket to scrap black plastic packaging

Lidl has announced it will phase out unrecyclable black plastic packaging from its fruit and vegetable ranges by the end of next month.

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Black plastic is classed as unrecyclable due to the pigments used to colour it

Black plastic often used in food packaging is not recyclable, because the optical sorting systems using for recycling cannot detect the black carbon pigments that are used to colour the plastic. 

Lidl has pledged to remove black plastic from its fruit and vegetable products, following backlash from a Which investigation earlier this year that revealed that almost a third of plastic packaging used by supermarkets in the UK was either too difficult to recycle or completely unrecyclable. 

The investigation also concluded that Lidl ranked the worst out of ten of the UK’s biggest supermarkets for plastic packaging, with just 71% of its own-brand packaging classed as widely recyclable. Morrisons was rated the most environmentally-friendly in terms of plastic packaging, with 81% of its plastic categorised as widely recyclable. 

Black plastic is one of the most problematic forms of plastic you can find on supermarket shelves

Speaking to The Guardian, Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner for Greenpeace UK, says: “Supermarkets are the place where a lot of the throwaway plastic filling up our homes comes from, so it’s good to see more of them are responding to the public’s concern by taking action.

“Black plastic is one of the most problematic forms of plastic you can find on supermarket shelves, and Lidl are doing the right thing by phasing it out as quickly as possible.”
Lidl also plans to remove black plastic from its fresh meat, fish and poultry range by August next year and claims to be the first supermarket to do so. 

In January, Waitrose pledged to phase out black plastic from all its own-label products ‘by the end of 2019’, and Tesco also announced it will phase out non-recyclable packaging with the same deadline. 

German-owned Lidl has 710 stores across the UK and over 10,000 across the world.

Do you have a view on this story? Email me at summer@linkpublishing.co.uk or reach out Twitter and have your say. 

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