THE PLASTICS PROBLEM, WHERE DOES IT ALL GO?

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Plastic has been used for packaging food and everyday household products since the 1950’s, and there are many reasons why. But the life of plastic doesn’t end when you throw it away. It isn’t biodegradable, which means it can hang around in the environment for hundreds of years. So it's important to be aware of the plastic we use and how we dispose of it.

Plastics

Plastic bag fridge

Plastic’s flexibility and durability makes it very useful. For example, it is extremely effective at providing an air-tight and hygienic way of protecting and preserving food for longer, which helps reduce food waste. It is also lightweight, which can help reduce carbon emissions from transportation compared to heavier materials like glass.

Plastic can be a more sustainable choice when it comes to packaging. However, the way in which we design, use, and dispose of plastic is crucial if we want to protect the environment.

Plastic bag fridge
Plastic rubbish

Most UK households throw away at least 40kg of plastic each year, and we use an average of 117 plastic bottles per person per year – that's a national total of 10 billion bottles!

There are also plastics which we can’t even see but that are still very much part of our daily lives. These ‘microplastics’ are released into the environment when we wash clothes made of synthetic fibres (like polyester), tyres and cigarette butts.

It is up to each of us to reduce plastic waste. At Lidl we are fully committed to tackling the problem. Read all about our work on this issue here.

Plastic after use

The life of your plastic doesn’t end once you are finished with it. How and where we dispose of plastic is in our control and can ultimately decide whether plastic gets recycled or ends up in our oceans.

Plastic that is commonly used for bottles and food packaging is often non-biodegradable. If you throw this in your bin and don’t recycle it, it can end up in a landfill where it lasts for many years. Even worse, if you litter your plastic in the street or in the park, it doesn’t just stay there. This plastic can get blown away into drains, rivers and streams and ends up on our beaches and in our ocean where it breaks down into microplastics.

If you recycle this plastic correctly through your kerbside scheme or in a recycling bin, it can be recycled and remade into new products. This reduces the need to produce new plastic and helps us save energy, conserve fossil fuels and reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill – win win!

To find out about our prevented ocean plastic, please click here.

Plastic after use