Retailer Asda has announced that it has removed 6,500 tonnes of plastic from its own brand packaging since February 2018.
The supermarket said that this marks a major step towards its ongoing commitment to reduce the quantity of plastic used in its product packaging.
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Through product innovation and redesign, Asda has reduced plastic in nearly 1,000 individual product lines, from fresh fruit and vegetables to electronics and homeware, removing the equivalent weight of 600 million empty plastic bottles.
Some of the changes that have been applied 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.
Asda has also 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% recycled by 2025.
Another change includes the introduction of a new plastic principle throughout the business, which will aim to 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, the retailer has pledged to use the most recyclable materials made from recycled content where possible.
Asda chief executive and president Roger Burnley 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.”