The move follows a four-week trial with supplier Müller, which saw the green caps that seal own-brand semi-skimmed milk bottles swapped with clear plastic ones. Similar trials were carried out by Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Waitrose; the supermarkets have since switched to clear caps on a permanent basis.
The new packaging will be phased in from October 31, with the aim to complete the transition by November 21, 2022.
While both clear and colored lids are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), only clear lids can be recycled back into food-grade packaging. According to Müller, demand for the material is high across its supply chain, and keeping it within a closed-loop system would make it more readily available whilst cutting reliance on virgin plastic. Around 60 tones of plastic will be recycled within food-grade packaging, the supplier added.
Shoppers are also largely in favor, with Müller consumer research showing that eight in 10 would pick a milk bottle with a recyclable cap if they had the option.
While green lids will be no more, the bottles will retain their colored labels, through which different types of fresh milk can be easily identified. In the UK, green is the color of semi-skimmed milk, while blue stands for whole and red - for skimmed. Semi-skimmed milk remains the most popular choice for UK consumers, with more than 3bn liters sold by mid-June this year according to Statista.
Scott Davey, senior buying director, commented: “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.”