Currently the store recycles around 20 per cent of its general waste (mostly excess cardboard and plastic), with the rest going into landfill. Approximately 65 per cent of waste produced by Asda stores in the UK could be composted each year, representing 58,000 tonnes of waste nationwide.
"Landfill sites in the UK are gradually running out of capacity, which means we need to find innovative and more environmentally friendly ways to dispose of our waste," said Simon Fern, environment manager at Asda.
In July of this year Asda committed all of its stores to recycling by 2010. The supermarket has steadily reduced the amount of waste it produces each year from 140,000 tones in 2001 to 88,000 tones in 2005, despite the fact that it had opened 70 new stores that year.
"I'd like to see more retailers setting ambitious targets of this kind and making that commitment publicly. The potential for having a positive influence which goes far beyond their own contribution is immense," said Fern.
David Lusher, commercial director with Veolia Environmental services, Asda's longest waste management partner, encouraged other supermarkets to follow Asda's lead.
Last year Asda opened four purpose built recycling facilities at a cost of £32m (€47) in Lutterworth, Wakefield, Skelmersdale and Bedford. As a result it recovered and recycled 14,000 metric tones of cardboard and 5,500 metric tones of plastic packaging from store waste.
Asda has also committed itself to a number of government programs aiming at tackling environmental issues. These include the governments 'Waste Resources Action Plan' (WRAP), the Climate Change Levy (CCL), and it has also joined the roundtable on sustainable palm oil.
In the next three to five years Asda will stock only fresh wild-caught and frozen fish from fisheries that meet the Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) independent environmental standards for well managed fisheries.