The Delhaize supermarket chain, slammed for a customer-loyalty drive involving extra plastic wrappings, on Monday announced new waste-reduction measures. The chain said it had understood the message and presented its mea culpa.
Since Thursday last, Delhaize customers have been receiving, for each purchase above 20 euros, a small plastic bag containing a small plastic block in a small plastic dish. The initiative is aimed at encouraging clients to purchase enough to build a miniature store from the small Lego-like blocks.
This new drive sparked a host of negative reactions on social media at a time when thousands of young people take to the streets of Brussels each Thursday on behalf of the climate. “Who in your company said: ‘This is a good idea. Let’s waste resources and energy for little publicity objects for the children’? What were you thinking?” wrote one Internet commentator.
“Bravo for your ecological gesture, Delhaize!” wrote another. “Two bits of plastic wrapped in plastic Made in China.”
Delhaize has admitted its mistake. “We understand the message and wish to apologise,” said a spokesman. He stressed that his company does, in fact, make a big effort to reduce the mountain of waste, for example by no longer providing plastic bags for fruit and vegetable purchases in their supermarkets, “which represents a saving of 80 million bags a year”.
“However, we need to have this type of reflex in other areas, too,” the company admitted.
Delhaize has thus taken three new measures. Additional garbage bins will be placed close to the cash registers so that customers can dump the plastic wrappings from the blocks there. The company promises that this waste will be “100% recyclable”.
Delhaize also says it will meet many Belgian organisations to study measures it can take to reduce the mountain of garbage.
Finally, the implementation of various environmentally friendly measures that had already been scheduled will be accelerated.
However, the ‘Lego’ blocks drive has not been stopped. It continues until 13 March 2019.