Asda has opened its first green ‘sustainability supermarket’, which could be the first of many in the UK.
The flagship store - located in Middleton, Leeds - is focused on recycling and the reduction of plastic consumption, and promises that customers will not pay more for greener options.
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, reuse and recycle."
The supermarket giant estimates the numerous initiatives being trialled will save one million pieces of plastic per year, and will use the Middleton store to test which elements of its new offer appeal most to customers.
"During the next few months we will listen to customers and colleagues’ feedback on Middleton," said Burnley.
What's different at the new Asda store?
Asda has partnered with some of the UK’s most popular household brands to create the new style of supermarket.
Refill stations offer a selection of more than 30 household staples sold in refillable format, including a selection of 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. Shoppers will bring their own containers to fill, rather than purchasing packaging.
The refill zone also includes popular brands of shampoo, conditioner, Persil laundry detergent, hand wash, and shower gel.
Fresh produce like fruit and vegetables is sold loose and unwrapped, and Asda plants and flowers are sold either unwrapped or with a paper wrapping.
Asda has removed the outer plastic wrapping on popular Heinz and Asda Brand canned multipacks, including beans and soups, and the store also has recycling facilities for items that are difficult to recycle in kerbside collections.
A reverse vending machine for cans, plastic and glass drinks bottles will also be in operation, and these will be rolled out across all Asda stores.
The new shop will showcase sustainable fashion lines through Asda’s George brand, including clothing made from recycled materials, as well as a partnership with Pre-Loved, a wholesaler selling vintage clothing.
Will it be more expensive?
Asda says it "recognises that sustainable shopping must be affordable and accessible to all customers and commits customers won’t pay more for greener options."
To encourage customers to shop sustainably, the supermarket has launched ‘Greener at Asda Price’, a national price promise that loose and unwrapped products will not cost more than wrapped equivalents.
Christina Dixon, Senior Ocean Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency, said, “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.
"To beat plastic pollution, we need bold system change. We hope the lessons from this store can be scaled across the country to shift away from unnecessary and single-use plastics.”