Offensive against waste Trade is fighting against packaging waste with laser tattoos and flat skin

Offensive against waste Trade is fighting against packaging waste with laser tattoos and flat skin

Offensive against waste Trade is fighting against packaging waste with laser tattoos and flat skin

The Germans are European champions in producing packaging waste. But that should change according to the will of the large German retail chains. announced this week an “offensive against packaging waste”. And Lidl, Edeka and Rewe have long been in the process of reducing the use of plastic and making packaging less harmful to the environment overall.

However, that is also necessary. According to figures from the Federal Environment Agency, German citizens produced around 220.5 kilograms of packaging waste per capita in 2016 – a maximum in Europe. The growing flood of waste meets with increasing reluctance among German consumers. In a survey by the management consultancy PwC, around 95 percent of the participants advocated reducing the amount of material used for packaging to a minimum. Over 80 percent also found that packaging was superfluous for products such as fruit and vegetables.

These complaints are now being heard more at the large trading houses – at least to a certain extent. for example, wants to reduce the amount of packaging for its own brands by 30 percent by 2025. Where packaging cannot be avoided, it should be fully recyclable by 2022. The low-cost provider reported that there was a particular focus on fruit and vegetables. After all, oranges and bananas shrink-wrapped in foil are prime examples of superfluous packaging.

Competitor Lidl had already announced in February that it wanted to reduce the use of plastic by at least 20 percent by 2025 by making changes to the packaging of private label products. “For a long time, we have been analyzing, in close cooperation with our suppliers, very carefully where we can do without plastic entirely or where we can fall back on alternative packaging options,” said Jan Bock, Purchasing Manager at Lidl Germany. Numerous small screws are also turned in the process. For example, the film thickness of some toasted bread packaging at Lidl was recently reduced by 25 percent. And for meat, too, the company relies on new, material-saving “flat-skin packaging” that reduces plastic consumption per item by around 60 percent. The trade journal “Lebensmittel Zeitung” recently described the discounters as “pacemakers” who were “head-to-head” when it came to sustainability.

But the supermarket giants Edeka and Rewe have also discovered the topic. In the past, organic products were often packaged in plastic in order to better distinguish them from the cheaper “normal” products, today avocados, kiwis, sweet potatoes or cucumbers from organic production at Edeka and Rewe are more and more often marked with a laser engraving. This laser tattoo has no effect on taste or durability, the companies emphasize.

Bananas are now only sold unpackaged at Rewe and Penny. The product information is on adhesive tapes or labels. In a pilot market in Büsum, Schleswig-Holstein, Edeka gives customers the opportunity to buy fresh food at the meat and sausage counter with a reusable can. “We are working hard to get rid of unnecessary packaging, reduce packaging or make it more environmentally friendly,” says Rewe manager Christin Schmidt. But doing without it is not always the best solution or even possible. After all, the packaging often also has a protective function for the product.

Benjamin Bongardt from the Naturschutzbund Deutschland (Nabu) welcomes the growing commitment of food retailers to the topic of avoiding packaging waste. With their own brands, they could be a role model here. Because many branded goods companies who continue to rely on complex packaging have slept through the problem so far. “You are now under pressure,” says the environmentalist.