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Asda to cut back single-use plastic bags from online orders in bid to tackle waste

Asda describes decision as a ‘simple change’ with ‘significant impact'

Katie O'Malley
Monday 08 July 2019 12:36 BST
BBC's #OurPlasticFeedback campaign prompts viewer to return her plastic packaging to Tesco

Asda has pledged to stop using single-use plastic carrier bags with its online grocery orders in a move to save around 500 tonnes of plastic a year.

The supermarket has announced it will remove the option to have a “bagged” delivery on all home deliveries and click and collect orders nationwide from 31 July.

Asda estimated the move, which follows a trial period in southwest England and its Dartford Home Shopping Centre, will remove around 85 million plastic bags from production each year.

For health and safety reasons, any fresh meat or fish will still be placed inside a small plastic bag, but the supermarket said that it plans to train staff to keep this to a minimum.

“We’re working hard to reduce avoidable plastic wherever we can – because helping to reduce its impact on the environment matters to us, and we know it matters to our customers too,” said Simon Gregg, Asda’s vice president of online groceries.

“This is a simple change, but will have a significant impact on the amount of plastic we use as a business.”

The supermarket claimed it will be the first to eliminate single-use plastic carrier bags from its operation, having stopped selling 5p bags in its stores at the end of 2018.

Following its reduction of around 290m plastic bags in stores last year, Asda will now produce 375 million fewer plastic bags each year in total following its latest cutback.

The supermarket’s removal of plastic carrier bags from its online grocery shopping operation is the latest move from the retailer to tackle plastic pollution and food waste.

Earlier this year, the retailer announced it had removed 6500 tonnes of plastic from its own brand packaging since February 2018.

Last month, an investigation by consumer group Which? found that almost half of packaging used by major UK supermarkets cannot be recycled easily.

Asda Supermarket shopping
Asda Supermarket shopping (Getty Images)

This makes it difficult for customers who wish to dispose of their waste correctly and increases the chance of it ending up in landfill, researchers said.

For the study, researchers analysed the packaging of 46 popular items from supermarkets including Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Marks & Spencer and Tesco.

According to Which?, products are deemed easy to recycle if they can be placed in household recycling and picked up by the council.

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Their findings showed that 52 per cent of packaging met these requirements – including pieces with cardboard, glass and plastic.

But 42 per cent of the total supermarket packaging was found to be labelled either incorrectly or not at all.

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