Plastic: Both a Problem and a Solution
The production of new plastics is rising sharply: over half of the plastic which was ever produced worldwide has been produced since 2000. It's impossible to imagine our daily lives, and especially the food retail market, without plastic. The material is popular for several reasons – plastic is cheap and easy to produce, hygienic and, thanks to its high stability and low weight, ideally suited to transporting goods. The material is easily molded, waterproof, airtight, long-lasting, and unbreakable, yet elastic and temperature-resistant and is almost unrivaled in its suitability for a wide variety of packaging.
One of the most important functions of plastic packaging is to protect against food losses. That is because it protects sensitive goods from environmental impacts and ensures that they arrive at the consumers undamaged. In the case of food, packaging can thus serve to preserve food and improve the CO2 footprint.
Nevertheless, society has been taking an increasingly negative view of plastic in recent years. Among other things, the use of the finite resource crude oil in production is criticized. However, the main reason plastic has fallen into disrepute is because of its problematic impacts on the environment. Because of its longevity, it decomposes very little or only very slowly and can still be found in our ecosystem years later.
A global problem which affects all of us.
We Take Responsibility
The primary reason for plastic waste in the environment is the striking gap between the amount of plastic produced annually and the amounts collected and recycled. Only a fraction of the plastic packaging waste which is generated worldwide is recycled. By contrast, over 80 percent is either thermally recycled, dumped, or enters the environment directly.
As the Schwarz Group, we are well aware of our ecological responsibility. As a result, we have been committed for many years to the collecting, sorting and recovering of plastics, which are indispensable for Lidl's and Kaufland's core business – food retail. REset Plastic has enabled us to pool our commitment centrally since 2018.
REset Plastic is the Schwarz Group's international, holistic plastics strategy for all company divisions and countries. REset Plastic is not only about eliminating plastic, but also about creating a new awareness and fundamentally changing the way we handle plastic.
Our Joint Vision:
“Less Plastic - Closed Loops”
Our Goals until 2025
of our private label packaging is maximum recyclable
less plastic in our private label packaging and transport aids
on average a 25%
use of recyclate in our private label packaging out of plastic
Our five action areas
We will adopt a holistic approach towards plastic reduction and recycling loops. As such, we have divided our plastic strategy into the following five action areas REduce, REdesign, REcycle, REmove and REsearch.
Turning Our Strategies into Reality
Every strategy needs an implementor who can and wants to make a difference. Through our company divisions, we at the Schwarz Group hold the key to the closed loop: From production to retail and all the way to waste removal and recycling. By applying our know-how, we approach the issue in a comprehensive manner and work to reduce plastic and close loops – together we seek to turn that mission into reality.
Click here to learn more about our individual company divisions and our international activities.
Networking with Science, Research and NGOs
For us, thinking holistically also means looking beyond the boundaries of our own group.
Consequently, as the Schwarz Group, we are a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a globally-active, non-profit organization, with a vision to achieve a working circular economy. As part of our membership, we were the first retail company in Germany to sign the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, and thus committed ourselves as early as 2018 to global objectives for building a circular economy for plastics.
As part of our REsearch action area, we also participate in manifold initiatives and research projects along the entire value chain.