Plastic-free milestone achieved by Asda

Plastic-free milestone achieved by Asda

March 14, 2019
Marcia González

Asda meets 2018 promise to remove 6,500 tonnes of own brand plastic packaging

Supermarket retailer Asda has announced that it has hit a plastic-free milestone, by removing 6,500 tonnes of the material from 1,000 individual product lines of its own-brand packaging since February 2018 – the equivalent of 600 million plastic bottles. “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,” commented Roger Burnley, president and CEO.

Among the changes implemented over the past 12 months, family chilled ready meal trays were swapped from black plastic to foil, pizza bases were changed from non-recyclable polystyrene to fully recyclable cardboard while five million plastic bags on its bedding range were switched to a cardboard band. Additionally, it removed plastic film covers from more than 50 million greeting cards and for Christmas it removed plastic windows and film from more than 1.6 million mince pies.

The retailer also took some important steps to make its packaging more recyclable – including changing all of its fresh produce trays from black plastic to clear – as it moves to making all of its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025.

Burnley indicated that this was just the start of its 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.

As part of this approach, a new plastic principle has been embedded throughout the business, which will ensure that all new packaging designs avoid the use of unnecessary plastic without impacting on food waste or shelf life. Where there is no current alternative to plastic, the company has pledged to use the most recyclable materials from recycled content wherever possible. Asda will also continue to work with packaging experts at Leeds Beckett University to look for and assess alternative packaging materials, the results of which will be published later in the year.

“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,” Burnley continued. “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.”

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2019 will take place from Thursday 27 June to Friday 28 June, at the Kap Europa, Frankfurt Messe, Frankfurt, Germany. To register for this highly focused and solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email

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