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UK: Lidl announces big change to milk

Discount Retail Chain Lidl GB (owned by the German Schwarz Group) is following in the footsteps of Sainsbury's, Aldi and Waitrose by swapping their green milk caps for clear ones.

By permanently replacing the green-coloured caps on bottle of semi-skimmed and organic fresh milk, the discount supermarket is the latest retailer to make the move to more easily recyclable clear ones, according to 'The Grocer'.

The company said the move, carried out in partnership with its milk supplier Müller after a trial in September, will allow 60 tonnes of recycled high-density polythene to be turned into food-grade packaging in the form of milk bottles. Scott Davey, Lidl's senior buying director, said: "We remain committed to supporting our customers in helping them make more sustainable shopping decisions on a daily basis.

"Customer feedback during the trial was overwhelmingly positive and we are thrilled to be making this change permanent across Lidl stores. In addition, this move will help us achieve our goal of making more of the plastic we use circular and fit to be repurposed time and time again."

Similar moves by Sainsbury's, Aldi and Waitrose sparked confusion among customers adjusting to the change. One Twitter user said: "@AldiUK who on Earth thought it was a good idea to make the plastic milk tops clear?? Just spent 25 mins looking for it! It was already on!"

Another tweeted: "Why the hell they changed the blue or green top for milk bottles to clear one it doing my head, I keep thinking the top is off when making a breakfast or tea/coffee. Anyone doing the same ??" Responding to one customer, Waitrose said: "Coloured milk bottle tops could not be recycled. The change was made so the clear bottle tops can be recycled. You can still select the milk you like by looking at the colour on the label."

Richard Gorman, plastics and packaging director at Aldi, which announced it was scrapping green caps in an attempt to reduce plastic waste, said: "We know it's becoming increasingly important to our customers that their everyday products are environmentally-friendly, and we are constantly reviewing ways to become a more sustainable supermarket. By trialling clear milk caps we are making our milk bottles easier to recycle, so they can be turned back into new packaging."

Lidl's wrap resource management sector specialist, Adam Herriott, said: "Changing the caps to a natural/non-pigmented HDPE will enable them to be recycled with the bottle and go back into food-grade applications, therefore able to be recycled multiple times into high-grade, high-value materials and products."


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