Asda debuts reusable packaging trial

Automated machines that allow customers to put fabric conditioner in reusable pouches are being installed in Asda stores, as part of a series of reusable packaging trials.

The Waste & Resources Action Programme project will look at how reusable and refillable systems can reduce packaging and save on costs.

The Asda technology will involve pouches that can be refilled up to ten times at no extra cost to buying a standard bottle. Potential reduction in carbon impact and waste offered by the new system will be assessed. The trial will run in five stores across the UK from September to February 2010.

As part of the same series of trials, Crown Paints is testing a reuse scheme at Crown Decorator Centres which will encourage customers to return empty polypropylene paint containers in-store for cleaning and refill.

Meanwhile, B&Q is testing reusable packaging formats suitable for the home delivery of ‘long’ items such as skirting boards.

Mike Robey, Wrap’s retail programme manager for home improvement, says, ‘Our focus in these trials is to identify the commercial viability of reusable packaging in a range of different retail and supply-chain settings, and to measure the impact on the amount of packaging required and product-waste produced.’

The results of the trials will be shared with the packaging industry during 2009 and 2010.

Robey hopes that the work will help to spark a ‘reusables revolution’ in consumer packaging.

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