Closed Loop Recycling (CLR) says it has been “overwhelmed” by support across the supply chain but insists only a collective effort from all parties will save the recycled milk bottle sector.
Since the Autumn, CLR, along with Biffa Polymers, have been battling against the impact of lower oil prices which have meant that cheaper virgin plastics have undermined the competitiveness of rHDPE used in milk bottles.
The market shift threatens to reverse a notable success of the Dairy Roadmap which included, among other goals, a target of 30% rHDPE in milk bottles by this year.
As MRW has reported over the past two weeks, matters came to a head with a special meeting convened by Defra to find a way out of the crisis. It was attended by representatives of WRAP, major supermarket and dairy brands and industry associations.
CLR’s chief executive Chris Dow, left, has conceded that this is a crucial time for his company and urged retailers to pay an additional 0.1p per two-pint bottle to stabilise the market. MRW understands that bottle blowers – who sit between the recyclers and retailers in the supply chain – have “taken a hit’ but some supermarkets and dairies were not offering concessions and in some cases switched to all-virgin HDPE.
Dow said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support across the supply chain for the UK plastic recycling industry. Dairy UK (the dairies’ association) said the industry was keenly aware that the plastic recycling industry is facing difficult times and its members had every intention of meeting targets.
“It is crucial that all sides of the supply chain work together with government to achieve these results,” he added.
Dow quoted comments from Dairy Crest that the company “remains committed to rHDPE”, and would continue its involvement with the Dairy Roadmap, and The Co-operative Food which said it had no plans to move away from using recycled content in milk bottles and would “continue to help in the progress towards the targets for recycled content”.
Dow said the message had been repeated by all the key stakeholders of the Dairy Roadmap.
“They have made their support public, and WRAP now has a solution on the table to ensure the future of recycling”.
This is understood to refer to the possibility of a loan from WRAP but the charity says it cannot comment on confidential commercial arrangements.