The prerequisite for a high-quality recycling process is that recyclable materials are sorted as best as possible. Especially for plastics, this means that high-quality recyclates can only be obtained if plastic waste is disposed of correctly at their point of origin and separated into different plastic types.
Tested Successfully: Single-Use Deposit in Lidl and Kaufland Stores
Deposit systems for disposable PET beverage bottles have been successfully established in Germany and many other European countries including Sweden, Finland, and Croatia. Reverse vending machines ensure that PET, a valuable raw material, is sorted correctly by type during collection and can therefore be processed successfully. Only through such separated collection is it possible for PET to be reused in food packaging, since extremely strict guidelines apply for direct contact with food. The deposit system is the basis for a successful, sustainable circular system – in Germany alone, 98 percent of all disposable deposit PET beverage bottles are collected and recycled. In Slovakia and Romania, Lidl and Kaufland are already moving beyond the legally required deposit system and have introduced voluntary reverse vending machines in some stores.
The Schwarz Group actively supports the Europe-wide trend of implementing deposit systems in order to establish recycling loops and in turn contribute to the conservation of resources.
Valuing Recyclables: Our Internal Campaign for Optimum Collection
Recyclable materials also accrue in our stores, logistics centers and administrative locations, for example, as a result of outer packaging and transport packaging. PreZero, the Schwarz Group's environmental division, has developed a "Valuing Recyclables" concept for that internal area. The reason is that, of the approximately 2.2 million tons of waste which accumulates within the Schwarz Group every year, three-fourths can be made reusable or converted into other products. Regular employee training as well as a simple, intuitive disposal system support our goal of channeling all recyclables which accumulate into the best possible recovery process and of reducing residual waste to a minimum. The success of the concept is substantiated by the steadily growing rate of internal recycling over the last few years.
Collecting Recyclables from Private Households: Working Alongside Informed Consumers
Since 2018, PreZero has set up its own capacities for collecting recyclables from private households in Germany and Poland, and since 2020 in Sweden. Collections are made using both the division's own resources as well as an extensive network of waste disposal providers in those locations in which PreZero is not yet active. Customer cooperation is crucial for recyclable collection, since only packaging which winds up in recyclable collection bins can be recycled. Not only proper classification, but also separation contributes toward recycling – this is because only recyclables which have been correctly classified and separated from one another can be correctly identified and sorted in our light packaging recycling facilities. To give our customers additional guidance, we provide waste separation information on selected private label packaging at Lidl and Kaufland. The instructions show the composition of the packaging material and describe how these can best be separated and disposed of.