We're rolling out refill zones at four more stores to help reduce waste

June 16, 2021
Asda Middleton refill station

We're launching new refill sections in four more of our stores this year to help customers reduce, reuse or recycle their supermarket packaging.

We're partnering with more household brands to trial initiatives in different parts of England and Scotland to understand how best to encourage customers to refill items such as cereal, pasta, rice, tea, coffee, dried pet food, laundry and toiletries.

The new initiatives, which follow a successful trial at our Middleton store in Leeds, include:

  • An increased range of products and partnerships with some of the UK's most popular household brands including Yorkshire Tea, Kellogg’s cereals, new own-label and Nestle cereals, Napolina pasta and Tilda rice.
  • The largest refill store to date will open at York in October with 18 standalone bays featuring over 70 branded and own-label products in refillable format with brand new product types including dry Mars pet food such as Whiskas and Pedigree and additional ranges of snacking, desserts and baking products.
  • A nine bay standalone refill fixture in the Milton Keynes store launching in December, featuring branded and own-label cereals, pasta, rice, tea, coffee, snacking, desserts and baking products. The store will also sell refillable pet food, laundry and toiletry products within specific aisles.
  • Asda’s first refill offer in Scotland at the Glasgow Toryglen store in August, featuring cereals, rice, pasta, tea, coffee, toiletry and laundry products sold in specific aisles.
  • Branded and own-label tea, coffee, cereals, rice, pasta, laundry and toiletries launching in specific aisles at the Rugby store in August.

All four stores will feature Persil, Radox, Simple and Alberto Balsam products from Unilever in stainless steel reusable bottles. These will be tested in two refill formats: refill on the go where shoppers can refill their bottle using a machine in-store and, in a global first for Unilever and Asda, return on the go, where shoppers can pick up pre-filled bottles off the shelf and return them in-store once used.

Susan Thomas, our Director of Commercial Sustainability, said: “We know that reducing packaging waste matters to our customers and they have embraced the refill options available at the Middleton store, with many of the products available already exceeding expectations.

"Our ultimate goal is to make refill and reuse a part of every Asda shopping trip and to achieve this we have to make it easy, accessible and affordable for all our customers to shop this way.

"Middleton was a great introduction to how customers engage with refill products and we are now looking to accelerate these learnings by trialling different refill options in more stores to understand which aspects can potentially developed further."

Several refill products at our Middleton store have outstripping packaged sales since the trial began in October, with many customers travelling from outside the local area to shop sustainably.

Pre-Loved, which was also initially trialled in Middleton is now in over 50 stores across the country, while we're also evaluating plans to roll-out increased customer recycling facilities to more stores later this year.

The announcement follows the publication of our first Environmental, Social and Governance report last month, which sets out our commitments to implementing a sustainable business strategy and outlines how we'll make it easier and more affordable for customers to shop sustainably.

It also reaffirmed our ‘Greener at Asda’ price promise – a commitment that loose and unwrapped products will not cost more than packaged equivalents.

Sebastian Munden, Unilever UK & Ireland’s Executive Vice President & General Manager, said: “Asda share our ambition and urgency to tackle plastic pollution, so it's great to scale up our partnership with them and continue to test different refill models in their stores. Including our first ever trial of reusable stainless steel bottles which are available pre-filled on shelf and then dropped off in-store once used. By testing and learning what works best in-store, we can understand how to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to make sustainable choices, whilst still using the brands they know and love.”

Jo Morley, Head of Campaigns at City to Sea, the organisation behind World Refill Day – on June 16 2021 – said: ”We know that the public are more concerned about plastic pollution than ever before, and looking for ways to live with less waste, so we welcome the news that Asda are going to be expanding their refill offering with the launch of four new refill stores.

"This World Refill Day, we’re encouraging people to make changes to their everyday shopping and find out what they can refill near them, and its brilliant to see Asda leading the way, making refill and reuse more accessible and more affordable.”

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