Asda is to start selling laundry detergent from vending machines in a drive to cut packaging waste.

The trial, which runs in selected stores from September until February, will allow shoppers to use the machines to fill pouches that are reusable between 10 and 15 times.

It could reduce packaging by more than 90%, said the retailer, which is running the scheme in conjunction with own-label suppliers Unilever and McBride as well as waste management consultancy Oakdene Hollins and packaging experts Eziserv.

This is not the first time Asda has introduced such technology. Working with Eziserv, Asda installed similar machines in its Watford and High Wycombe stores in 2001. The trial proved unsuccessful but the retailer said it was optimistic that times had changed and the technology improved.

"Asda leads the retail sector in packaging reduction and has already removed 50,000 tonnes of packaging since 2007," said Asda's head of corporate policy for sustainability and ethics Julian Walker-Palin. "This project directly engages our customers with the process and gives them the chance to live a more sustainable lifestyle at no extra cost."

The detergents will cost the same as normal own-label lines. However, if the concept took off they could become cheaper, said Asda.

The move is one of a number of trials being carried out across retail and co-ordinated by Wrap to explore reusable packaging.

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