Thought leadership

Asda is launching a “sustainability store” where shoppers can fill their own containers with food. Customers at a Leeds branch will be able to use refill stations for own brand rice and pasta, as well as Kellogg’s cereals and PG Tips.

Asda is the latest major grocer to launch an initiative to cut down on plastic packaging. UK supermarkets are responsible for 58 billion pieces of plastic a year, according to Greenpeace.

Asda uses about 65,000 tonnes of plastic a year. The “sustainability store” will open in May at the Asda Middleton site in Leeds.

“We will be testing and learning from the customers in Middleton to understand how we can reduce our environmental impacts,” said Asda chief executive Roger Burnley. “Our first priority will be to look at how we can reduce and remove plastic.”

Daniel Webb, founder of campaign group Everyday Plastic, said the launch was also “a big step” for companies such as Kellogg’s and Unilever whose products are included in the Asda trial.

In-store trials will last for at least three months, with customers asked to give feedback.

The store will house a “naked florist” selling plastic-free bouquets, and will also sell loose produce such as cucumbers or mushrooms without any plastic packaging.

In addition, the branch will have a “reverse vending machine” for recycling plastic bottles.

Asda recently committed to reducing plastic by 15% by February next year, as well as making all of its own brand packaging fully recyclable by 2025.

Single-use plastic has become a major topic for discussion after the BBC’s Blue Planet II highlighted its effect on the oceans.

Major supermarkets have since pledged to cut down on their plastic waste.

The BBC has also announced plans for a year-long series of programmes and coverage on climate change, as part of the Our Planet Matters project.

Waitrose has introduced refills for wine, beer, cleaning materials, and loose fruit and vegetables free from packaging across four stores after a trial at its Botley Road shop in Oxford.

It has also said it will remove all black plastic from its own label ranges, and stop selling single-use coffee cups.

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