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Asda works with brands to put sustainable shopping to the test

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Asda is working with leading brands to put sustainable shopping ideas to the test and see if they would work in practice.

The supermarket, ranked Top50 in IRUK Top500 research, has launched a test and learn sustainability shop in its Leeds heartland as it looks to find new ways to reduce plastic – and to find out how shoppers are prepared to buy.

The shop will be the first Asda in the UK to enable customers to fill up their own containers of products, from Asda’s own-brand coffee, rice and pasta to households brands including Kellogg’s Coco Pop and Rice Krispies, and Unilever’s PG Tips tea. 

Customers will be asked for feedback when they shop at the store, so that Asda and its suppliers can see what works for them in practice. Trials for each innovation will run for at least three months before a decision is made on whether to roll it out, trial it again, or stop.

The new ideas include refill stations, a florist offering plastic-free flowers, and loose produce such as cucumbers and mushrooms. New recycling facilities will include a reverse vending machine for plastic bottles and cans, recycling for clothes hangers, and a deposit box for small plastic toys.

Roger Burnley, chief executive 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.”

Asda says it has removed 8,000 tonnes from its own brand packaging since 2018, and now aims to source almost a third of plastic packaging from recycled sources by the end of 2020, and to reduce plastic by 15% by February 2021. All packaging – of whatever material – is set to be 100% recyclable by 2025.

Image courtesy of Asda

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