Asda announces launch of first sustainability trial store

Posted: 20 January 2020 | | No comments yet

Trials of food refill stations and ‘naked florist’ sections will last for at least three months in an Asda store in Leeds before a decision is made on whether to roll out, retrial or stop the features.

Asda has announced the launch its first ‘test and learn’ sustainability store in Leeds, with a mission to find new ways to reduce plastic and encourage customers to reuse and refill.

From May 2020, 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 the trial – Kellogg’s cereals such as Coco Pops and Rice Krispies and Unilever’s PG Tips tea will be included.

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. 

 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.

“We are 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 is a journey we cannot 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, said Roger Burnley, CEO of Asda.

“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,” he added.

The move is said to be 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 percent by February 2021. It has also committed to make all packaging – of whatever material – 100 percent recyclable by 2025.