Major supermarket Asda has launched a sustainability trial store as part of its new plastics reduction strategy.
The retailer has vowed that customers will not pay more for greener options at the outlet in Middleton, Leeds. It says it recognizes that sustainable shopping must be affordable and accessible to all customers.
In essence, Asda wants to help shoppers reduce, reuse and recycle with ease. And it estimates it can save 1 million pieces of plastic per year with the initiatives it’s trialing in Middleton.
Shopping bosses will evaluate which features in the branch appeal to customers, as well as which they can develop at scale and roll out further.
Greener supermarket offering
Asda has partnered a range of popular brands such as PG Tips, Vimto, Kellogg’s, Radox, and Persil. Household staples will be sold via refill stations. These stations will sell food as well as toiletries and also cleaning products.
To encourage customers to opt for these options, the supermarket has launched ‘Greener at Asda Price’. Basically, this is a ‘national price promise that loose and unwrapped products will not cost more than wrapped equivalents’.
Among other initiatives, it will introduce many unwrapped and refillable lines. At the same time, it will offer its first reverse vending machine for cans, plastic, and glass drinks bottles.
Roger Burnley is Asda’s CEO and president. He said: “Today marks an important milestone in our journey as we tackle plastic pollution and help our customers to reduce, re-use 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 percent believe that supermarkets have a responsibility to reduce the amount of single-use plastics in stores.”
In addition, he said, Asda wants to give customers the opportunity to live more sustainably. In light of this, the retailer is offering ‘great product choices and value’, vowing they ‘won’t pay more for greener options at Asda’.
He added: “During the next few months we will listen to customers and colleagues’ feedback on Middleton. Then we can understand how we can continue to reduce our environmental impacts, whilst continuing to deliver quality service at a great price.”
Nina Schrank is lead plastics campaigner at Greenpeace U.K. She said: “Asda’s new sustainability store reflects what people are looking for – the opportunity to go plastic-free.
“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. U.K 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.”