Budget supermarket chain Lidl claims to have become the first supermarket to launch its own bottle return scheme trial, in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, providing its customers with cash rewards for recycling. 

The scheme, which began 8 February, 2024, allows shoppers to return their empty polyethylene terephthalate plastic and aluminium drinks containers through in-store reverse vending machines. 

Lidl has deployed these machines in all 21 stores across the city, with plans to expand it. 

Customers will earn a 5p (¢6) reward for each eligible container. This reward can be redeemed while shopping or donated to the STV Children’s Appeal charity, the retailer’s longstanding charity partner. 

The retailer’s initiative is expected to recycle at least 10.5t of plastic and aluminium material monthly, contributing to the creation of new products. 

The scheme’s introduction follows the Scottish Government’s postponement of its deposit return scheme, originally set to launch on 16 August 2023.  

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Lidl’s scheme differs from the government’s planned programme as it does not place a deposit on the retail price of the product.  

Lidl GB CCO Richard Bourns said: “We’re on a mission to eliminate all unnecessary waste, and with over 95% of our own-brand packaging now recyclable, reusable, or refillable we’ve been making great progress.  

“We know that Lidl shoppers share this passion, and we hope that utilising this infrastructure, which might otherwise have been left dormant, will help to make recycling their cans and bottles even more convenient for them. With our extra incentive thrown in, and no cap on the number of items that can be recycled, it’s a win-win for all.” 

The pilot will remain operational until 11 August, 2024. 

In December last year, Lidl GB replaced the ‘Use By’ labels with ‘Best Before’ labels on its yoghurt and fresh milk ranges to tackle food waste