Asda has joined forces with some of the UK’s best known brands to launch its first ‘test and learn’ sustainability store in its heartland of Leeds with a mission to find new ways to reduce plastic and encourage customers to reuse and refill.
From May, the Leeds based store will become the first Asda in the UK where shoppers can fill up their own containers of products, including Asda’s own-brand coffee, rice and pasta.
The supermarket has also asked well known household brands to work with them on their quest to reduce plastic – meaning shoppers will also be able to use refill points Kellogg’s cereals such as Coco Pops and Rice Krispies and Unilever’s PG Tips tea.
Customers shopping at the store will be asked to give their feedback on different trials – allowing Asda and its suppliers to understand more about how these innovative new ideas work in practice. Trials will last for at least three months before a decision is made on whether to roll out, retrial or stop.
In addition to the refill stations, the store will include a ‘naked florist’ offering plastic-free flowers and loose produce with items such as cucumbers and mushrooms being taken out of their plastic packaging. There will also be a range of new recycling facilities, including a reverse vending machine for plastic bottles and cans, hanger recycling and a deposit box for unwanted small plastic toys.
Roger Burnley, CEO of Asda, said: “We’re on an ongoing quest to remove and reduce the amount of plastic in our business – and to find new ways to help our customers to reuse and refill our products. It’s a journey we can’t go on alone, which is why we invited our suppliers to innovate with us and I’m delighted that household names like Kellogg’s and Unilever have joined us in testing new ideas and approaches to sustainability at our Middleton store.
"Over the coming weeks and months we will be testing and learning from the customers in Middleton to understand how we can reduce our environmental impacts whilst still maintaining the great service and quality our customers demand. Our first priority will be to look at how we can reduce and remove plastic and I am excited to learn from our customers and see where this journey will take us.”
The move is part of Asda’s commitments to reduce the amount of plastic it uses. Having removed 8,000 tonnes from its own brand packaging since 2018, it recently brought forward commitments to make almost a third of plastic packaging from recycled sources by the end of 2020, and reduce plastic by 15% by February 2021. It will also make all packaging – of whatever material – 100% recyclable by 2025.