DS Smith & Asda to Eliminate One Million Pieces of Plastic

Prodigious packaging giant DS Smith and bottom-slapping supermarket Asda are collaborating to find a sustainable alternative for plastic POS price holders, removing eight tonnes of plastic and 21 tonnes of CO₂ per year in the process.

The breakthrough comes after a re-evaluation of an in-store feature many take for granted – price ticket holders on the edge of shelves known as shelf-edge-labels (SELs). Asda recognised that these were adopted by the temporary point-of-sale industry from permanent shop fixtures as a quick and easy solution to feature price labels. SEL holders have been widely accepted as a standard and easy application for displaying price tickets on temporary cardboard displays. However, the nature of the type of plastic used in these fixtures (PVC) means that when they reach the end of their life, they cannot be disposed of in a sustainable way.

SEL holders are widely used and very difficult to be disposed of sustainably

By undertaking rigorous trials, a solution to use adhesive was reached which could mitigate plastic altogether. The move has been shown to be beneficial to both Asda and the environment – it means that less than 5% of point-of-sale displays now contain plastic, as such recovering fibres in the recycling process is more efficient and store operation workload is reduced when separating materials at the back of stores. As a result, Asda is looking to adapt these point-of-sale guidelines more widely – a simple but effective reassessment that will have savings of approximately 8 tonnes of plastic waste and 21 tonnes of CO2 each year.

The move is the latest in a strong partnership between Asda and DS Smith which began over seven years ago. Concurrently, Asda is targeting a 15% reduction on own-brand plastic by the end of 2021, while DS Smith, which is known for its sustainable business model, has its own sustainability target to remove one billion pieces of plastic from supermarket shelves by 2025. Last year both parties began this journey with an initiative which reduced plastic on point-of-sale displays by 15%; with the latest SEL initiative rolling out it will mean displays in Asda will get close to being entirely plastic free.  

Angus Jones at DS Smith commented: “Once again, we have worked with the Asda team to push the boundaries when it comes to plastic replacement and lower the overall carbon footprint in its stores, success that bears testament to our growing and strengthened relationship based on continuing trust and collaboration.”

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