Asda expands plastic-free refill offering

Asda has more than doubled the number of product lines available in refillable formats at the first store to trial the offering, located in Middleton, Leeds.

There are now 76 product lines available in a refill format. Image: Asda

There are now 76 product lines available in a refill format. Image: Asda

The supermarket chain first launched a trial, under which the store was transformed into a “sustainability store”, last autumn. More than 20 refillable product lines were put on offer, including own-brand pasta, rice and pulses, Kellogg’s cereals, PG Tips tea bags, Quaker Oats porridge and Vimto cordial.

Following the success of the refill zone, Asda has this week moved to add more than 50 new product lines to the Middleton store. There are more choices of Kellogg’s cereal; a greater range of Yorkshire Tea products; additional pasta shapes; additional varieties of rice; Silver Spoon sugar; seeds and nuts; Mars pet food; Dreamies cat treats and pre-filled bottles of Coca-Cola Original Taste and Coca-Cola Zero.

The Coca-Cola bottles are one litre in size and made from glass. They can be returned to the store, which has had a reverse vending machine fitted to deal with this packaging format, for a 20p deposit fee off their next shop. Collected bottles will be collected by the Coca-Cola Company for sanitisation and refill.

Asda recently announced that it was rolling out its refill proposition to four more stores by the end of the year – Rugby, Milton Keynes, York and Glasgow. At every refill store, products including tea, coffee, cereals, pasta and rice will be available alongside laundry and toiletry goods. To this latter point, Unilever announced last month that the Asda stores will play host to its first trials of a ‘return on the go’ system, whereby shoppers purchase pre-filled reusable bottles and then return them at a later date.

“We have always said that working in partnership with other like-minded businesses will be vital if we are to persuade people to shop more sustainably,” Asda’s director of commercial sustainability Susan Thomas said.

“We are very pleased to secure the backing of some of the UK’s most recognisable consumer brands which means we can offer customers even more of their favourite products in refillable format.”

Lyreco in the loop

In related news, office supplies and workplace solutions firm Lyreco UK has become the first business-to-business (B2B) organisation to list its products on TerraCycle’s Loop platform.

Loop first launched online in Paris in 2019 with Carrefour as its retailer partner. It then expanded in France and was launched in the US, Canada and, latterly, the UK, following Covid-19-related delays. It enables brands to retain ownership of reusable packaging and to provide refillable products to consumers directly. Once the products are sold and used, TerraCycle and its partners in the logistics and packaging industries deal with collection, cleaning, refilling and recycling at the end of packaging’s life.

Lyreco will sell hand soap and hand sanatisers in stainless steel bottles to a selection of existing B2B customers through Loop, including Legal & General and Murphy, in the first instance. Should the trial prove successful, a plan for expansion will be developed.

According to Lyreco, the bottles will be able to be used, professionally cleaned, refilled and reused up to 100 times. They are recyclable at the end-of-life stage. Lyreco is notably working towards a commitment to eliminating all “non-circular” packaging from products by 2025.

Loop Europe’s general manager Blandine Surry said: “Rethinking packaging provides the opportunity to develop new packaging designs that not only look good and are functional but also sustainable at the same time. We are thrilled to see the Loop model expanding into B2B with a convenient model that enables to broaden the impact of Loop on reducing waste.”


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Sarah George



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