The trial — planned to take place at a store in Leeds — will allow consumers to use their own packaging for products such as coffee, cereal and pasta
UK-based supermarket Asda is set to trial refillable packaging and bottle recycling at its first “test and learn” sustainability store.
Starting from May, the store in Middleton, Leeds, will provide areas where shoppers can fill their own containers with products including Asda’s own-brand coffee, rice and pasta.
The retailer has also partnered with brands including Kellogg’s and Unilever, extending refill stations to big-name products such as Coco Pops, Rice Krispies and PG Tips.
Asda CEO Roger Burnley 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.”
Asda to introduce a deposit box for unwanted small plastic toys
Along with refill stations, the Leeds store will trial packaging-free options for produce such as cucumbers and mushrooms.
Asda will also offer in-store recycling facilities, including a reverse vending machine for plastic bottles and cans, and a deposit box for unwanted small plastic toys.
Customers using the Leeds store will be asked to provide feedback on the trials, giving Asda vital intelligence on how such schemes work in practice.
Head of environmental charity Greenpeace UK’s ocean plastics campaign, Louse Edge, believes the move is encouraging.
She said: “UK supermarkets increased their plastic footprint to more than 900,000 tonnes last year, so it’s encouraging to see Asda take steps to ditch throwaway plastic and introduce the option for customers to refill their own containers.
“And the fact that big brands like Kellogg’s and PG Tips are included in this trial shows Asda’s having the right conversations with branded suppliers on plastic.
“Plastic is made from fossil fuels, so its production contributes to our climate emergency, and it’s a material that pollutes our rivers and oceans.
“We’ll never recycle our way out of this crisis, so Asda and other UK supermarkets must urgently reduce plastic by switching to reusable and refillable packaging at scale.”
Asda’s trial will last for three months before a decision is made on whether to roll-out, extend, or stop the scheme.