The Schwarz Group develops systems for collection, 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 on average more than 50% recycled PET material – and some products are 100% recycled plastic.
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 400,000 1.5L bottles on one truck, saving around 26 truck trips per delivery.
The recycling plant removes labels and caps and sorts the bottles by color. They are then washed, crushed and processed into food-grade PET regranulate, which is then subject to independent quality control.
The plastics processing plant forms blanks from PET regranulate and fresh PET granulate. The resulting bottles will be made from 60% recycled materials.
approx 60% recycled material
At the filling plant, the blanks are heated and shaped into new bottles to be filled, labeled, repackaged and loaded on pallets.
At the central warehouse, new products are loaded onto the same trucks that delivered the shredded bottles for delivery to the stores.
approx. 60.000 tons / year
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 2.2 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, as an internal recycling manager, 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 as 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: