At the beginning of 2020, Lidl and Plastinet Flexibles began a project in Belgium. They wanted to see how they could reduce plastic waste in the store's fruit and vegetable section. Potato products' packaging was the first to be put under the microscope.
Along with their manufacturer, Plastinet Flexibles developed a high-quality plastic film. They were able to reduce its thickness significantly. This resulted in a 30 micron-think film for 2,5 kg potato bags and 35 microns for 5kg bags. That's a reduction of 55% and 22% respectively. These new bags have been in all Belgian Lidl shops since the mid-2020. That will save 51 tons of plastic waste annually, just for these two products.
These films can run on unmodified machines. Packaging speeds remain the same or may even increase. The film is very transparent, has high-quality printing, and seals perfectly. This LDPE film is a mono-film, which makes it extremely recyclable. Moreover, it's made from 50% recycled PE.
These efforts are part of Lidl's broader strategy. They want to drastically reduce their plastic consumption. In 2018, this retail chain store announced that it intends to use at least 20% less plastic by 2025. Lidl is aiming for its private labels' plastic packaging to be maximally recyclable by then too. These account for 90% of their entire product range. With this target, Lidl is five years ahead of the European Commission's plastics strategy. This strategy aims to make all plastic packaging in Europe recyclable by 2030, at the latest.
Plastinet Flexibles specializes in BOPP films for horizontal and vertical processing. They also supply products like laminate film, rolls of bags, and corner slats. Plastinet Flexibles not only has conventional materials. The company also offers compostable films made from renewable raw materials (e.g., "I am Green," made from sugar cane, and film made from starch).