Lidl Ireland Removes ‘Bag for Life’ in Industry-Leading Shift Eliminating 6.3 Million Plastic Bags from Circulation

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Retailer Celebrates Monumental Move with Educational Colouring Competition for School Children That Will See Their Drawings Printed on New Recycled Shopping Bags in 168 Lidl Stores Nationwide

Lidl Ireland has today announced plans to eliminate 6.3 million ‘Bags for Life’ from circulation by April 2021. The announcement by the retailer is a significant move towards creating a more sustainable shopping experience, with plans to remove ‘Bags for Life’ completely from sale by April 2021.

Lidl is the first retailer in Ireland to remove all ‘Bags for Life’ and to offer only bags made from 100% recycled content collected from Lidl’s stores. The new, recycled and durable option will replace the retailer’s €0.48 ‘Bags for Life’ in all 168 Lidl stores by the end of April. The design of the new bag will feature quirky puns, such as “Lettuce All Reuse Our Bags” and “You’re Butter Off Reusing This Bag”, which were selected by Lidl colleagues through an internal vote.

To celebrate the launch of its new shopping bags, the retailer is calling on young creatives across the country to exercise their imaginations and submit a drawing of what one of the R’s of Sustainability means to them, whether that be reduce, reuse or recycle. The retailer hopes this colouring competition will spark important conversations around the over-reliance on plastic and to re-think how it is used as well as providing a fun and educational activity for school kids during the lockdown.

Tobe in with a chance to win, entrants can pick up a colouring competition entry form in any Lidl store across the country or download a form at https://www.lidl.ie/shopping-bags and print it off at home between the 25th January and 28th February 2021. To submit a masterpiece, kids can take a picture of it and upload it to the competition’s webpage. The retailer will then choose four winners from across Ireland who will see their drawings brought to life on Lidl’s new recycled shopping bag range, giving customers in all 168 Lidl stores the choice of different limited edition bag designs and also a friendly but constant reminder of the importance of reusing the bags.

Through this monumental commitment, Lidl is also calling on fellow retailers to forgo all single-use bags completely, including virgin plastic, paper and compostable versions, to reduce the overall output of the sector. Lidl’s new 100% recycled, reusable heavy-duty bag also has a lower carbon footprint compared to competitors’ paper or compostable alternatives.

As part of Lidl’s sustainability strategy, A Better Tomorrow, the retailer has also trialled the elimination of plastic fruit and vegetable bags in six selected stores, which removed more than 15,000 of these bags from circulation in each participating store. In total during the trial, almost 100,000 bags were removed from entering the waste stream. In 2019, Lidl was the first retailer in Ireland to announce the introduction of reusable fruit and veg Green Bags, designed to give customers a sustainable choice and reduce plastic use and waste in the long term. Lidl plans to increase the availability of their Green Bags to provide customers with more options while saving an additional 60 tonnes of plastic from entering the waste stream annually.

Speaking on the announcement, Green Party MEP, Ciarán Cuffe commented:

“Well done to Lidl Ireland on their new initiative to reduce plastic waste. The removal of 6.3 million plastic bags annually is a step in the right direction for the sector and the environment. We need more sustainable initiatives such as this, to support and empower Irish consumers to have sustainable and re-usable options that helps to reduce Ireland’s plastic waste problem. I hope other supermarkets scale up their efforts to reduce plastic output and environmental impact.”

Commenting on the announcement, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Lidl Ireland, Owen Keogh said:

“At Lidl, we pride ourselves on being industry leaders in sustainability and our latest market-leading initiative to replace 6.3 million plastic shopping bags with new bags made from 100% recycled plastic gives our customers across the country even more sustainable options when shopping with us”.

“We have looked at plastic waste reduction in the context of our wider sustainability commitment and have already proven that our circular approach delivers a viable long-term solution without compromising on our ability to deliver exceptional value to customers. By introducing these new heavy-duty shopping bags, our aim is to highlight and encourage product reusability – a courageous move that we hope encourages change within the retail industry as a whole. We’re grateful for our customers’ support on this journey and encourage them to reuse these new shopping bags whenever possible.”

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