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Leeds Asda relaunches as pioneering flagship sustainability store

Asda’s Middleton store in Leeds has just been relaunched as a pioneering flagship sustainability store comprising a Refill Zone, supported by Unilever and sustainability and circular economy experts Beauty Kitchen.

Shoppers are invited to bring in their own reusable containers and dispense products from pasta, cereal and coffee to shampoo, shower gel and laundry detergent from the branch’s 15 refill station.

Asda said it plans to use the Middleton store to test and learn which elements of its new offer appeal most to customers, and can be developed at scale. The successful features will potentially be rolled out to more stores in 2021.

The three different refill models trialled inside the store are:
Self-serve containers: Unilever tea brands PG Tips and Pukka will be available through self-serve containers or ‘hoppers’ for loose tea and tongs to self-dispense fully biodegradable teabags.

Shoppers will be able to take their own reusable container into store or buy one there. Once their container is full, they take it to the weighing station where a label is printed ready for payment at the checkout.

In-home refills: Cif ecorefills offer an in-home refill experience and the store will provide shoppers with an entire bay dedicated to the ten times concentrated refill for sprays which allow you to use a Cif spray bottle for life. Ecorefills use 75% less plastic than the standard cleaning bottle and mean 87% less trucks on the road. An entire fixture of ten times concentrated spray cleaners across the Asda estate could save 990 tonnes of plastic every year.

Touch-free Refill Machines (developed by Beauty Kitchen): Beauty & Personal Care brands (Radox shower gel, Simple liquid handwash and Alberto Balsam shampoo and conditioner) along with Persil laundry liquid will be dispensed in reusable aluminium or stainless steel bottles via three machines using the Return, Refill, Repeat premise.

First-time shoppers will be provided with a bottle whilst returning shoppers will reuse their existing bottle. Once filled, shoppers add their printed label to the bottle and take it to checkout as usual. Each bottle has a unique QR code, a feature which will enable full traceability of each bottle allowing Unilever to track the full buy, use, refill process and gain better insight into the circular model.

Together these three Refill Stations could save the equivalent of 30,000 plastic water bottles in just one store in one year.

Roger Burnley, Asda’s CEO and president, said, 'Plastic pollution is an issue that matters greatly to our customers. We want to give the opportunity to live more sustainably by offering them great product choices and value, underpinned by a promise that they won’t pay more for greener options at Asda.”