Suppliers to Asda are to be issued with a new 'packaging scorecard' this year as part of its bid to cut waste.

The scheme, to be implemented imminently, is being imported from across the Atlantic, where it was rolled out by Asda parent Wal-Mart in February.

The scorecard rates companies' efforts to make their packaging more environmentally friendly, enabling the retailer to compare the performance of suppliers.

Criteria measured include the carbon emissions during production, levels of material use, product/package ratio and recycled content. Suppliers will be offered incentives to meet the criteria, which are based on Wal-Mart's 'seven Rs of packaging' - Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Renew, Revenue and Read.

Meanwhile, Asda is also urging shoppers to bring back examples of over-packaging to the stores. It said it would use the items to put further pressure on suppliers to reduce waste. The 'Leave it with us' trial begins next week in two of Asda's busiest stores, in York and Dewsbury. If successful, large wheelie bins that will act as receptacles for the offending items will be rolled out nationwide.

Asda said it was already committed to reducing packaging for own-label by 25% over the next year but wanted every supplier to "adopt the same zeal for stamping out waste".

"Shoppers are our eyes and ears across our entire business," said an Asda spokesman.

"Each store contains, on average, more than 40,000 different products, so examining each one is a massive task. It makes perfect sense to enlist the help of our most vigilant allies - our customers."

Waste on industry's plate p27