Asda has finally started selling fabric conditioner from green vending machines six months after first revealing its plan.

It started the trial, which allows customers to fill up reusable pouches that can be used up to 10 times, this week at its Barnsley store.

The project, funded by Wrap, was announced back in July and initially scheduled to kick off in September. Wrap blamed "technical challenges" for the delay and said it had then decided to wait until after the Christmas trading period.

The system works by pumping fabric conditioner from 1,000 litre reusable containers in the back store via overhead pipes to a vending machine in the laundry aisle. The technology, developed by Eziserv, McBride and Unilever, is expected to hit a further four stores shortly.

"This project directly engages customers by offering a great product that not only has a lower packaging footprint but also a lower price tag," said Asda head of corporate policy for sustainability and ethics Julian Walker-Palin.

In 2001, Asda unsuccessfully trialled similar­machines at Watford and High Wycombe, but Walker-Palin said he was optimistic that the technology had improved and there would also be greater consumer demand for the concept now.