ASDA Chesser: recycling

Gavin Corbett takes supermarket giant ASDA to task over recycling and asks customers to sign petition

Most of us use supermarkets from time to time. I know I do. Much as I shop whenever I can at local and independent shops, there are times when the supermarket wins out. Within a mile of me there are two Sainsburys, an ASDA, a Tesco and Lidl and two Aldis. So there isn’t exactly lack of options.

One of the things that is dispiriting about supermarkets (although some are better than others) is the sheer amount of packaging. Open up the average green household bin or communal packaging bin and I’ll warrant that a good part of what is there will have come from a supermarket. Those retailers and the suppliers have to get far far better at reducing packaging. In the meantime, the very least they can do is offer decent recycling facilities.

Here is where I have a tale of two supermarkets. Local residents have been in touch with me to highlight that recycling banks at ASDA at Chesser have been removed. They had been provided by the city council but suffered massively from fly-tipping, contamination (ie the wrong stuff put in the wrong bins) and commercial waste dumping. ASDA Chesser appear to take the view that these problems are nothing to do with them. So, after a long period of review, the recycling containers have now been moved elsewhere in Hutchison-Chesser where, to date, they have been well-used.

Does that mean that there should be no recycling facilities at ASDA? Not in my view. Just over the river from ASDA, at Inglis Green Road, Sainsbury’s store, as a matter of course, provides its own recycling facilities for customers (pictured here). At the site are facilities for glass, paper, card, cans, plastics and cooking oil, plus Oxfam banks for clothes and shoes. I have asked ASDA why it cannot follow Sainsbury’s example.

My purpose here is not to promote one supermarket over another. In the past I have had sharp exchanges with Sainsbury over the number of blue plastic gloves from their petrol station which end up in the Water of Leith. Meanwhile, ASDA at Chesser has been helpful in supporting community events and projects.

Nor do I think that recycling is the holy grail. The best way to deal with packaging is to have less of it in the first place. However, I know from my mailbag that local residents who shop at ASDA are disappointed in the company’s attitude and want to see a change in tack. That is why I have set up a petition to allow people to register their disquiet and I hope that ASDA will think again.

After all, with £700m profits last year and a planned merger with (you guessed it) Sainsbury, the timing is right.