Asda has announced plans to reduce the amount of plastic in its packaging by 10% this year and phase out 5p ‘single use’ carrier bags from its shops by the end of 2018.

The retailer announced the pledge in a document published on its website, called Plastic Unwrapped – our pledge to use less and recycle more.

Asda has also vowed to publish regular updates for customers to follow its progress, as well as introduce a donation to good causes from the sale of its ‘bags for life’, so that charities do not lose out.

It will also work in partnership with the Leeds Beckett University Retail Institute, as well as ABP on priority projects to develop new alternatives to plastics and more recyclable materials.

Asda also pledged to create the ASDA Plastic Ideas Hub, open to all from industry to individuals, offering a £10,000 award for every “scaleable, workable idea that helps Asda to tackle its top plastic challenges – such as alternatives to plastic film”.

Asda’s president and chief executive, Roger Burnley, commented: “I truly believe that when you serve 18 million people each week and have the ability to make a difference to them, you should do it.

“I want Asda’s customers to know that they can trust us to take the lead on the issues that really matter to them. So we have challenged ourselves to look at what more we can do to reduce the amount of plastic in our business, and within our industry as a whole.”