The Schwarz Group develops systems for collecting, sorting and recycling in all the countries in which it operates.
It researches, optimizes and expands local return and distribution facilities to keep existing plastic within the closed-loop recycling circle.
We collect, sort and recycle plastics to close the loop.
Every bottle that passes through a Schwarz Group deposit machine in Germany is then sent to be recycled. If someone throws a PET bottle of water or lemonade in a deposit machine, they support the group’s unique recycling loop, as these bottles will be used to produce new ones. Lidl brand mineral water and soft drink bottles are already manufactured from an average of 50% recycled PET material. Some products are made from 100% recycled plastic. Through recycling and other advancements, we have saved over 420,000 tons of PET material to date, making the group a leader in the use of recycled material in new PET disposable bottles.
The deposit machines sort the PET bottles and shred them for efficient transport.
At the central warehouse, the bottles are pressed into large bales to fit around 400,000 empty bottles on one truck, saving around 26 truck trips per delivery.
In the group’s recycling plants, the labels and caps are removed and the bottles are sorted by color. The bottles are then washed, crushed and processed into food-grade PET regranulate, which is regularly subject to independent quality control.
The Schwarz Group plastics processing plants produce blanks for the new bottles from PET regranulate and fresh PET granulate. The new bottles contain at least 50% recycled materials. This has positive effects on the climate: each year, we reduce energy emissions by around 55,000 t CO₂.
at least 50% recycled material
At the Mitteldeutsche Erfrischungsgetränke (MEG) filling plants, the blanks are heated and shaped into new bottles to be filled, labeled, repackaged and loaded onto pallets.
At the central warehouse, new products are loaded onto the same trucks that delivered the shredded bottles for delivery to the stores.
The bottles are ready to be purchased by customers. When these empty bottles are subsequently returned to the deposit machines in the stores, the closed-loop recycling process is complete.
Three-quarters of the approximately 1.65 million tons of waste generated by the Schwarz Group each year can be reused. To reap the full ecological and economic benefits of these reusable materials, GreenCycle developed uniform collection stations for the group’s stores, warehouses and offices. The project was initiated as part of the Respect Recyclables campaign.
Plastic wrap undergoes a similar cycle to recycled bottles. If plastic waste cannot be recycled, the Schwarz Group finds a way to downcycle. Benches for internal company use, for example, are manufactured from plastic waste.
Discover more about plastic removal here: