Asda Removes 6500 tons of Plastic From Private Brand Packaging

UK retailer Asda has announced it has removed 6,500 tons of plastic from its private brand packaging since February 2018. The milestone marks a significant step towards the supermarket’s ongoing commitment to reducing the amount of plastic used in product packaging.

Through product innovation and redesign, Asda has reduced plastic in almost 1000 individual product lines – from fresh fruit and veg to electronics and homewares – removing the equivalent weight of 600 million empty plastic bottles.

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.

In addition, Asda has taken steps to make its packaging more recyclable, including changing all of its fresh produce trays from black plastic to clear, as it moves towards making all of its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025.

As it hits this first-year reduction milestone, 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 organizations to share best practice and develop new ideas.

A significant change includes the introduction of a new plastic principle embedded throughout the business, which will ensure all new packaging designs avoid the use of unnecessary plastic without impacting on food waste or shelf life. Where there is no current viable alternative to plastic, Asda has pledged to use the most recyclable materials made from recycled content wherever possible.

Roger Burnley, President, and CEO of Asda

Asda is also continuing to work with packaging experts at Leeds Beckett University to look for and assess alternative packaging materials and will publish its first report later this year.

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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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.