GERMANY – International discount retailer chain in Germany, Lidl GB, will be permanently switching its green-colored milk lids to clear ones for semi-skimmed milk after a successful trial in a bid to improve sustainability.

The move is part of the discount grocer’s partnership with leading milk supplier Müller, who conducted a successful four-week trial of the clear caps and saw the green lids that seal own-brand semi-skimmed milk bottles swapped with clear plastic ones. Sainsbury, Aldi, and Waitrose carried similar trials out.

The caps are now to become a permanent fixture, initially rolling out in select Lidl stores on 31 October and available in all stores across the UK from 21 November.

While both clear and colored lids are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), Lidl says colored milk caps cannot be easily recycled back into food-grade packaging due to their density, unlike plastic milk bottles.

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 tons of plastic will be recycled within food-grade packaging after introducing clear caps across its supply chain, 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.

Scott Davey, senior buying director, commented: “We remain committed to supporting our customers in helping them make more sustainable shopping decisions daily. 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.”

While green lids will be no more, the bottles will retain their colored labels, to retain the original identification of the types of fresh milk.

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.

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