Milk (packaging) gone green

The milk container market is exemplary of sustainable options and developments within one of the most important of all the food and beverage packaging segments.

Pw 6063 Greenbottle 8

 Earlier this summer, the U.K.’s Food and Farming Minister, Lord Rooker, called for the dairy industry to become more sustainable, targeting 50% reduction of plastics used in milk packaging as a key goal for 2020. The milk market has a diversity as varied and wide as Europe, and includes these examples:

• Suffolk’s Marybelle dairy began in late 2008 to sell its semi-skimmed milk in ASDA stores located in eastern England in the new GreenBottles from GreenBottle Ltd. (www.greenbottle.com). Greenbottle replaces conventional HDPE milk bottles with bottles molded from recycled office paper and low-density plastic liners. ASDA’s Chris Brown says, “Milk is one of our highest-selling products, and as such, we have a responsibility to develop alternative packaging making it easier for our customers to go green and to help them recycle at home. The Green Bottle is robust, practical and fit for [this] purpose.” A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for GreenBottle completed by PIRA Intl. found that the carbon footprint of GreenBottle was 48% lower than the HDPE milk bottle.

• Sainsbury’s debuted JUGIT from Dairy Crest that comprises a plastic pouch of milk used in conjunction with a specialized reusable jug. Manufactured by RPC Market Rasen (www.rpc-marketrasen.co.uk), the jug’s two-piece lid features a hollow spike attachment that perforates the pouch when closed. The top of the attachment flips open to provide a handy, reclosable spout.

• Dairy Crest was also involved in a project with Nampak (eu.plastics.nampak.com) to remove the handles from 1- and 2-pint plastic milk bottles. A handle-free bottle would be 10% lighter, and could reduce the use of HDPE by 5,000 tons/yr.

BASF (www.basf.com) was working with a dairy to introduce polystyrene milk bottles, which weigh 20% less and slash material costs by 25% along with processing advantages

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