The new sustainability store coincides with the “Greener at Asda Price” launch, a promise that loose products will not cost more than wrapped equivalents
Asda has launched a new “sustainability trial store” and has unveiled a new plastics reduction strategy.
The supermarket has partnered with some of the UK’s most popular household brands including PG Tips, Kellogg’s and Persil to create the store located in Middleton, Leeds.
It’s designed to help shoppers reduce, reuse and recycle with ease, with the company estimating that the numerous initiatives being trialled will save one million pieces of plastic per year.
It will use the store to test and learn which elements of its new offer appeal most to customers and can be developed at scale, potentially being rolled out to more locations in 2021.
Asda’s CEO and president Roger Burnley said: “Today marks an important milestone in our journey as we tackle plastic pollution and help our customers to reduce, reuse and recycle.
“We have always known that we couldn’t go on this journey alone, so it is fantastic to work in tandem with more than twenty of our partners and suppliers, who have answered the call to test innovative sustainable solutions with us.
“This is an issue that matters greatly to our customers – our own insight tells us that more than 80% believe that supermarkets have a responsibility to reduce the amount of single-use plastics in stores.
“We want to give them the opportunity to live more sustainably by offering them great product choices and value, underpinned by a promise that they won’t pay more for greener options at Asda.
“During the next few months we will listen to customers and colleagues’ feedback on Middleton so we can understand how we can continue to reduce our environmental impacts, whilst continuing to deliver quality service at a great price.”
Sustainability store part of ‘Greener at Asda Price’ launch
In order to encourage customers to shop sustainably, the supermarket has also launched “Greener at Asda Price”.
This is a national price promise that loose and unwrapped products will not cost more than wrapped equivalents.
The new sustainability store at Middleton includes 15 refill stations offering customers a selection of more than 30 household staples such as Kellogg’s cereals, PG Tips tea bags, Persil laundry detergent and shower gel from Unilever sold in a refillable format.
Alongside this, 53 fresh produce lines in total will be sold in a loose and unwrapped format, including 29 new lines such as cauliflowers, mushrooms, cabbages and baby plum tomatoes.
In addition, the outer plastic wrapping on several Heinz and Asda canned multipacks have been removed, while recycling facilities for items that are difficult to recycle in kerbside collections such as crisp and biscuit packets, and toothpaste tubes will also be provided.
Added to that, Asda will operate its first reverse vending machine for cans, plastic and glass drinks bottles, and a hanger recycling facility at the store, which will be rolled out at a later date.
Charity Greenpeace UK’s lead plastics campaigner Nina Schrank believes the move “reflects what people are looking for – the opportunity to go plastic-free”.
She added: “By offering innovative refill stations, loose fruit and vegetables and plenty of sustainably sourced household goods, they have bought what used to be a niche shopping experience into the mainstream, all under one roof.
“We hope that this store is the first of many; we need to see so much more of this from across the supermarket sector. UK consumers want to ditch plastic.
“The supermarket sector needs to listen to its customers and shift to plastic-free groceries and reuse and refill options both in-store and throughout their online delivery operations.”
Asda launches new plastics strategy
To coincide with the opening of its revamped Middleton store, Asda has launched its new strategy for plastics and sustainability.
The firm says it recognises that sustainable shopping must be affordable and accessible to all customers, committing to making sure that they won’t pay more for greener options.
It’s also said it’s aiming to generate zero carbon emissions by 2040, reduce waste by 50% and have a net regenerative impact on nature no later than 2050.
In addition to this, the company has made a commitment to remove three billion pieces of plastic from its own-brand products by 2025.
It’s also looking to introduce more than 40 refillable products by 2023 and invest in 50 closed-loop and circular projects by 2030.
NGO the Environmental Investigation Agency’s senior ocean campaigner Christina Dixon says Asda’s sustainability store demonstrates that “checking out on plastic doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag”.
She added: “To beat plastic pollution, we need bold system change and innovative approaches to reuse and refill, so we hope the lessons from this store can be scaled across the country and inspire sector-wide change to shift away from unnecessary and single-use plastics.”