Press Centre

Asda leads the way with nationwide removal of carrier bags from checkouts

Asda has announced it will be the first of the leading supermarkets to remove all of its single use carrier bags from the end of its checkouts.

From 1st June nationwide, the bags will be placed under the direct control of each checkout operator, forcing customers to ask for a bag if they need one to pack their groceries.

The launch of the ‘bag on request’ initiative will coincide with the introduction of a new range of ‘Must Have’ bags for life and reusable bags – all of which will be available in prominent positions at store entrances and checkouts.

The decision to roll out the schemes to all ASDA stores throughout the UK was taken following a successful trial in six stores.

During the trial ASDA saw a significant reduction of 20% in the use of single use carrier bags and a significant increase in the sales of more sustainable reusable bags.

Andy Clarke, Retail Director for ASDA said:

“Between now and June we will be retraining all our checkout colleagues, talking to our customers about the changes, and installing new units for the reusable and bags for life.

“Many of our customers will begin to see the difference in May, with the full rollout completed the first week of June.

“We want to make protecting the planet easier and more affordable for our 15 million customers and we believe this is the best way to encourage shoppers to change the habit of a life time and start reusing their bags instead.”

ASDA is working on a number of other significant initiatives which will be communicated shortly.

In the meantime, to help shoppers change the habit of a lifetime, it is working hard to find the best way to encourage them to use bags for life:

  • Piloting schemes that save customers money on their weekly shop if they use reusable or bags for life
  • To incentivise customers who re-use carrier bags or sustainable bags, it recently launched “Go Green for Schools” vouchers which can be exchanged for environmental rewards e.g. solar panels, weather stations, bird boxes with remote control cameras, grow beds etc. Unlike other supermarket voucher schemes, this is not linked to spend in store. Instead it relies upon the positive pester power of kids on their parents shopping habits, so far over 1,500,000 vouchers have been given out.
  • Every ASDA store already have recycling bins for carrier bags at the front of stores – so far it has already recycled 133 tonnes of plastic bags.
  • Any money saved will be reinvested in “green rollbacks” that lower the prices of sustainable products.
  • ASDA was one of the first supermarkets to sign up to the Courtauld Commitment to reduce the environmental impact of plastic bags by 25% by the end of this year and is on track to meet this target
Posted in Press Centre on 06 March 2008