Asda is set to reduce its cardboard usage by15 million kgs a year following a move to shelf-ready plastic trays for its bananas.

The retailer has worked with its direct supply arm, IPL, to introduce collapsible reusable black plastic trays to its supply chain. Bananas will be packed into the trays during picking, ripened in them and then transported directly onto Asda shelves.

The trays, which Asda claimed would be a supermarket first, will be rolled out to its pre-packed bananas by April, saving 6.75 million kgs of cardboard a year.

Asda said it expected to roll the trays out to loose bananas in 2013, saving an additional 8.25 million kgs of cardboard every year.

The rollout would not only benefit the environment but also result in better-quality bananas as the fruits would sustain less damage during transportation, claimed Jim Ryder, banana technical manager at Asda and IPL.

“In terms of environmental impact and customer satisfaction, we are confident that reusable plastic trays will completely revolutionise the banana industry,” he said.