Asda removes 6,500 tonnes of own-brand plastic packaging

Date published: 22 March 2019

Major supermarket Asda has removed 6,500 tonnes of plastic from its own brand packaging since February 2018.

Asda, which has two stores in Rochdale, has reduced plastic in almost 1,000 individual product lines – from fresh fruit and veg to electronics and homewares – removing the equivalent weight of 600 million empty plastic bottles.

Having pledged to make all of its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025, the milestone marks a significant step towards reducing the amount of plastic used in product packaging.

Some of the changes that have been implemented over the last 12 months include:

• Swapping family chilled ready meal trays from black plastic to foil 
• Changing pizza bases from non-recyclable polystyrene to fully recyclable cardboard 
• Replacing 5 million plastic bags on its bedding range with a cardboard band 
• Taking plastic covers off over 50 million greetings cards 
• Removing plastic windows and film from over 1.6 million mince pies at Christmas

The retailer has acknowledged that this is only the beginning of the journey and has committed to continuing its focus on reducing the amount of plastic used in packaging, as well as working with industry bodies and relevant organisations to share best practice and develop new ideas.

Asda has pledged to use the most recyclable materials made from recycled content wherever possible – where there is no current viable alternative to plastic – and continues to work with packaging experts at Leeds Beckett University to assess alternative packaging materials.

Roger Burnley, President and CEO of Asda said: “Making changes of this scale in a business of this size is never easy, but I was clear last year that we needed to take a root and branch review of what packaging we use for our products.

“Our customers expected this of us and while we’ve reached a major milestone, we know there is more that can be done and we are committed to making meaningful changes wherever possible.

“In many cases packaging is still essential to protect against waste, but avoiding the use of unnecessary plastic will rightly be the starting point for all of our packaging designs in future.”

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