Asda to trial first sustainable store in Yorkshire

Asda will open its first sustainability trial store in Leeds today, partnering with the UK’s biggest brands to test the latest innovations to tackle plastic pollution.

The Leeds-based grocer has promised customers that its new plastics reduction strategy means they will not pay more for greener options.

From refillable solutions to a host of recycling initiatives, the firm said it will help customers to reduce, re-use and recycle. The trial store is in Middleton in Leeds.

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The supermarket has partnered with PG Tips, Vimto, Kellogg’s, Radox and Persil to create the store. Asda estimates the numerous initiatives being trialed in Middleton will save one million pieces of plastic per year.

Asda said it recognises that sustainable shopping must be affordable and accessible to all customersAsda said it recognises that sustainable shopping must be affordable and accessible to all customers
Asda said it recognises that sustainable shopping must be affordable and accessible to all customers

Asda will use the Middleton store to test and learn which elements of its new offer appeal most to customers and can be developed at scale to be potentially rolled out to more locations in 2021.

To encourage customers to shop sustainably, the supermarket has also launched ‘Greener at Asda Price’, a national price promise that loose and unwrapped products will not cost more than wrapped items.

The new store includes 15 huge refill stations offering customers a selection of more than 30 household staples sold in refillable format.

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Products include a selection of different Kellogg’s cereals, PG Tips tea bags, Quaker Oats, Lavazza and Taylors of Harrogate coffee beans, Vimto cordial and Asda’s own brand rice and pasta.

The refill zone also includes popular brands of shampoo, conditioner, Persil laundry detergent, hand wash and shower gel from Unilever brands such as Simple and Radox sold in refillable format, which is a retail first.

Over 50 fresh produce lines will be sold in loose and unwrapped format including 29 new lines such as cauliflowers, mushrooms, apples, cabbages and baby plum tomatoes. In addition, all Asda plants and flowers are sold either unwrapped or with a paper wrapping.

It is also removing the outer plastic wrapping on popular Heinz and Asda brand canned multipacks including beans and soups.

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It will supply recycling facilities for items that are difficult to recycle in kerbside collections such as crisp and biscuit packets, plastic toys, cosmetic containers and toothpaste tubes.

The store will also showcase sustainable fashion lines through George including clothing made from recycled polyester and coat hanger-less denim.

The Middleton store will also have a new community zone for pop ups and partnerships with charities. The first will be a three month trial with the Salvation Army of a Drop and Shop outlet for customers to donate their unwanted clothing and bric-a-brac seven days a week.

It has also signed a partnership with Pre-Loved, a vintage wholesaler, which will be selling bespoke vintage clothing from well-known brands.

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Asda said it recognises that sustainable shopping must be affordable and accessible to all customers.

Roger Burnley, Asda’s CEO and president, 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 per cent believe that supermarkets have a responsibility to reduce the amount of single use plastics in stores. We want to give them the opportunity to live more sustainably by offering them great product choices and value, underpinned by a promise that they won’t pay more for greener options at Asda.

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“During the next few months we will listen to customers and colleagues’ feedback on Middleton so we can understand how we can continue to reduce our environmental impacts, whilst continuing to deliver quality service at a great price.”

Nina Schrank, lead plastics campaigner at Greenpeace UK, 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. UK 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.”

Christina Dixon, senior ocean campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency, added: “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.

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“To beat plastic pollution, we need bold system change and innovative approaches to re-use and refill, so we hope the lessons from this store can be scaled across the country and inspire sector-wide change to shift away from unnecessary and single-use plastics.”

Asda is committed to generating zero carbon emissions by 2040, reducing waste by 50 per cent and having a net regenerative impact on nature no later than 2050.

In 2018, Asda set a weight-based target of a 15 per cent reduction in plastic packaging by 2021, with the company removing over 9,300 tonnes of plastic from its own brand products since then. Now it has introduced an additional commitment to remove three billion pieces of plastic from 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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