Asda to trial detergent refills in green bidReusable fabric conditioner pouch scheme tested

13 July 2009

Asda is to trial a new self-dispensing refill scheme that allows customers to reuse and refill pouches of concentrated fabric conditioner in stores.

The product will be transported in bulk and held at the back of the store, then piped to the supermarket aisle, where an automated machine will refill fabric conditioner pouches on demand.

Asda refillable pouches

The pouch is lighter than standard fabric conditioner bottles, cutting down on waste packaging and reducing carbon emitted during transportation. Asda customers will be able to bring the pouches back for refilling for the same price as purchasing a new bottle. The pouches can be reused up to 10 times.

Asda will begin trialling the technology at selected stores across the UK later this year.

If you're interested in greener washing options, our laundry detergent review will help you find which washing products perform best at 30°C.

Refillable packaging

The new Asda scheme is part of a series of industry trials exploring the benefits of reusable packaging in the retail sector organised by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap).

Wrap will be assessing the environmental impact of single use versus reusable packaging and assessing the potential of retail schemes such as the one Asda is trialling to cut both carbon and waste.

It follows the government's recent announcement of its packaging strategy, which includes plans to increase refillable and reusable packaging options in supermarkets in order to cut down on packaging waste.

Our essential recycling guide includes information on which packaging materials you can recycle, and where.

Wrap’s Retail Programme Manager for Home Improvement, Mike Robey, 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.'

B&Q and Crown Paints

Joining Asda in the Wrap trial is B&Q, who will test a reusable packaging format suitable for the transportation of long length materials such as skirting boards or interior trims for its kitchen and bedroom products.

An early reusable packaging prototype completed more than 20 trips during testing, preventing the need for single-trip corrugated packaging for these journeys.

Meanwhile Crown Paints is to trial a bring back scheme at its Crown Decorator Centres, encouraging tradesmen to return empty polypropylene paint containers instore for onward cleaning and refill.

According to Mr Robey: 'This work could, when combined with growing consumer trends, spark a ‘reusables revolution’ in consumer packaging - building on the growing recognition of the contribution reusable packaging can play in the supply chain.'

Visit Which?'s greener living section for more on green and environmental issues.

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