Asda has began trialing its new sustainability initiative in Leeds; a store where shoppers are able to refill on packaging-free household staples such as tea, coffee, shampoo, laundry detergent, rice and pasta, as well as browse fruit and vegetables stocked loose on their entirely plastic-free aisle. The initiative comes following the supermarket's bid to reduce waste by 50%, and produce zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Alongside the opening of this new store Asda has released a new initiative, "greener at Asda", which ensures that unwrapped and loose fruit and vegetables will not cost more than packaged versions across any of its stores.
This store will also feature a community zone, allowing for partnerships with charities - the first will be a three-month collaboration with the Salvation Army, featuring a "drop and shop" outlet for customers to donate clothing and unwanted items.
Asda is removing packaging from more than 50 fresh product lines and will start selling goods such as mushrooms, cabbages and baby plums loose in its sustainability store.
Recycling points for shoppers will be available in-store for items that are more difficult to recycle, such as crisp packets, plastic toys, cosmetics packaging, and toothpaste tubes.
Roger Burnley, the chief executive of Asda, said: "Today marks an important milestone in our journey as we tackle plastic pollution and help our customers to reduce, reuse and recycle."
Christina Dixon, senior ocean campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency, agreed, adding: “Asda’s sustainability store shows real vision for a shopping experience that reduces plastic packaging and protects our planet, while also demonstrating that checking out on plastic doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag.”
Asda has stated that the company plans to use the Middleton store to test and learn which elements of its new offer appeal most to customers, and can be developed at scale. The successful features will potentially be rolled out to more stores in 2021.
To coincide with the opening, the supermarket has updated its plastic and sustainability strategy to include fresh commitments to remove three billion pieces of plastic from its own-brand products by 2025. It has also committed to introduce over 40 refillable products by 2023 and invest in 50 closed loop and circular projects by 2030, working closely with waste management companies, recyclers and product developers.
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