// Lidl to remove 9p plastic bags from Welsh stores as part of a trial to further slash plastic waste
// Move comes after it found its 9p bags were increasingly being used as single-use
// Over 150 tonnes of plastic could be saved from waste and over 5m fewer bags sold annually
// If the trial is successful, the initiative could be rolled out across Great Britain
Lidl is set to remove 9p plastic bags from stores in Wales as part of a trial to further cut down on plastic waste.
Coming into effect from May 1, the move comes after the British arm of the German discount grocer found that its 9p bags were increasingly being used as single-use.
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Lidl said it would evaluate the customer response to the trial and its environmental impact, although it expected to save the equivalent of over 150 tonnes of plastic and result in more than five million fewer bags being sold annually.
If successful, the initiative could be rolled out across all of Lidl’s stores in Great Britain, potentially saving approximately 2500 tonnes of plastic annually and more than 80 million fewer bags being sold per year.
The discounter had already scrapped 5p plastic bags from sale in 2018, and said the latest move was “taking further action” to help cut down on plastic waste as the 9p reusable bags were on the next tier.
The trial will affect 54 Lidl stores across Wales.
The supermarket will also introduce new cotton and jute alternative bags into its range this summer and will still offer customers in Wales its 38p heavy duty bag and 65p freezer bag.
The trial forms part of the grocer’s overall commitment to reduce plastic packaging in its British stores by 20 per cent by 2022.
It also aims to make sure 100 per cent of its own-brand packaging is widely recyclable, reusable, refillable or renewable by 2025.
“After seeing that our 9p reusable bag was increasingly being used as a single use option, we wanted to look at how we could mitigate this pattern,” Lidl Great Britian chief executive Christian Härtnagel said.
“Through this trial, we will be able to fully assess the impact that removing our 9p plastic bags has in helping customers shift to a fully reusable option.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Wales was the first nation in the UK to bring in a charge on single use carrier bags and we are pleased that Lidl has chosen Wales as the location for an initiative which will help inform understanding of consumer behaviour and bag use.
“We will watch with close interest the effect of Lidl’s innovation and how this will encourage reuse.”