The groundbreaking commitment means that by 2010 everything the supermarket disposes of at the back of its stores will be recycled, reused or composted instead of being sent to landfill.
In addition, all of the products it sells (under the ASDA brand) will be redesigned over the next 18 months, with the aim of reducing the weight and volume of packaging it produces by at least ten per cent.
ASDA has already successfully redesigned all its salad bags reducing the thickness of the plastic by 15%, and removed an unnecessary cardboard sleeve on a selection of its ready meals. The redesigned packaging is now set to be rolled out across dozens more food products in the coming months.
David Cheesewright, chief operating officer at ASDA said: "Were determined to stop sending stuff from our stores to landfill sites. We also want to help our customers reduce the amount of rubbish they throw away each week.
"We will recycle, reuse or compost all of the waste we produce, and will cut our packaging by at least ten per cent. Its a massive commitment thats set to have a huge impact on the environment. We hope our competitors will follow our lead so that together we can help make landfill sites redundant."
Last year ASDA opened four purpose-built recycling facilities at a cost of £32m in Lutterworth, Wakefield, Skelmersdale and Bedford enabling its fleet of delivery trucks to collect cardboard and plastic packaging from the back of stores. As a result, it recovered and recycled 140,000 metric tonnes of cardboard (8% of the UK cardboard market) and 5,500 metric tonnes of plastic packaging from store waste.
Hazardous wastes, including paint and fluorescent tubes are also segregated and collected, while waste meat and fish (animal by-product waste) is composted for use as a soil conditioner. Even waste photographic chemicals are collected by ASDA to recover the precious metals contained in them such as silver.
Earlier this year the supermarket teamed up with childrens TV character Bob the Builder to launch the ASDA Big Recycle, highlighting how customers can recycle cardboard packaging, glass bottles, tin cans, mobile phones, printer cartridges and old clothes.
It also carried out environmental audits with more than 600 local schools encouraging pupils to consider how they can reduce waste and save energy in their schools by recycling paper and turning off classroom lights on sunny days.
Notes for editors:
In 2005, ASDA signed up to the ‘Courtauld Commitment’ and is now working in partnership with the Governments ‘Waste Resources Action Programme’ (WRAP) to achieve a shared objective of reducing household waste by the following measures:
· Delivering absolute reductions in packaging weight by end of March 2010
· Tackling the amount food consumers throw away by end of March 2010.
ASDA’s environmental policies are in line with its parent companys strategy. Last October Lee Scott, Wal-Mart’s CEO declared the long-term environmental goals for the company:
· To be supplied 100% by renewable energy
· To create zero waste
· To sell products that sustain our resources and our environment
· To help restore balance to climate systems
· To reduce greenhouse gas emissions
· To reduce dependence on oil.
Wal-Mart has set a four year target to reduce the carbon footprint for all its new stores across the globe by 30%, and a seven year target to reduce the carbon footprint of its entire chain of six thousand stores by 20%.
ASDA has also entered into a Climate Change Levy (CCL) agreement with the Government and committed to reducing energy consumption in the most intensive areas of store operations by 10%.
This year ASDA joined the roundtable on sustainable palm oil, and only stocks FSC certified wood e.g. garden furniture, charcoal, wooden picture frames.
Within the next three to five years, ASDA will only stock wild-caught fresh and frozen fish from fisheries that meet the Marine Stewardship Councils (MSC) independent environmental standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. The decision means dozens of products bearing the MSC’s distinctive blue eco-label will start appearing on the supermarkets shelves.