The supermarket, which is located in Middleton, Leeds, hopes the new initiative will encourage customers to reduce, reuse and recycle – saving an estimated one million pieces of plastic from being used each year.
A number of major brands have joined forces with Asda for the new store, including PG Tips, Kellogg's, Radox and Persil, which are all selling products, such as shampoo and laundry detergent, that customers can take home in refillable containers.
Heinz products, alongside Asda's own brand canned products, can also be purchased at the supermarket without outer plastic packaging.
In total, there are 53 fresh produce items which are being sold loose, as well as flowers that come wrapped in paper.
Recycling points for shoppers are also available for items that are typically more difficult to recycle, such as crisp packets, plastic toys, cosmetics packaging, and toothpaste tubes.
The Middleton store also features a community zone, where it can host partnerships with charities. The first of which is a three-month collaboration with the Salvation Army, featuring a “drop and shop” space where customers can donate clothing and unwanted items.
We've opened our first ever sustainability store, at Asda Middleton in Leeds, where we're offering a range of new and innovative ways to reduce and remove plastic packaging, including 15 huge refill stations offering customers a selection of more than 30 household staples. pic.twitter.com/hlmFRqahtw
— Asda (@asda) October 20, 2020
To encourage customers to shop sustainably, the supermarket has also launched “Greener at Asda Price” – a national price promise that loose and unwrapped products will not cost more than wrapped equivalents.
Roger Burnley, the chief executive of Asda, said: “Today marks an important milestone in our journey as we tackle plastic pollution and help our customers to reduce, reuse and recycle.
“We have always known that we couldn't go on this journey alone, so it is fantastic to work in tandem with more than 20 of our partners and suppliers who have answered the call to test innovative sustainable solutions with us.”
Asda said that it will use the Middleton location to test and learn which elements of the new supermarket appeal most to customers and can be developed at scale to be potentially rolled out to more sites in 2021.
In line with the opening of its new sustainable store, Asda has launched a new strategy for plastics and sustainability.
The company said it recognises that sustainable shopping must be affordable and accessible to all customers and is committed to generating zero carbon emissions by 2040, reducing waste by 50 per cent and having a net regenerative impact on nature no later than 2050.
It has also committed to introduce over 40 refillable products by 2023 and invest in 50 closed loop and circular projects by 2030, working closely with waste management companies, recyclers and product developers.
The new supermarket has been praised by environmental groups including Greepeace.
“Asda’s new sustainability store reflects what people are looking for – the opportunity to go plastic free,” said Nina Schrank, lead plastics campaigner at Greenpeace UK.
“By offering innovative refill stations, loose fruit and vegetables and plenty of sustainably sourced household goods, they have bought what used to be a niche shopping experience into the mainstream, all under one roof.
“We hope that this store is the first of many; we need to see so much more of this from across the supermarket sector.”
Christina Dixon, senior ocean campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency, agreed, adding: “Asda’s sustainability store shows real vision for a shopping experience that reduces plastic packaging and protects our planet, while also demonstrating that checking out on plastic doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag.”