A handle-free plastic milk bottle is being designed and trialled by Dairy Crest, which, if successful, could help to reduce packaging waste by 5,000 tonnes a year. The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is supporting the lightweighting project, along with Nampak, which will develop the one and two pint containers with Dairy Crest. Trial results will be available this summer.
WRAP retail team spokesman Peter Skelton said: Nampak and Dairy Crest aim to achieve a 10% reduction in weight with the new bottle, which will set a new light-weighting standard for the milk industry.
Plastic milk bottles are probably the most common plastic item found in household waste and manufacturers and brand owners have taken the current handled designs as far as they can go in terms of lightweighting the vital next step is perfecting a handle-free design which works for the consumer. This project is the first phase in a much larger project with the dairy industry.
It is estimated that if the new handle-free HDPE bottle is adopted by Dairy Crest, which processes one billion litres of milk every year, 1,250 tonnes of plastic will be diverted from the household waste stream a year.
The UK milk industry is estimated to produce between 130,000 and 150,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste annually. If the handle-free HDPE bottles become the industry standard 5,000 tonnes per year could be saved.
Dairy Crest innovations controller Richard Pryor said: We know consumers need a handle on the large four pint milk bottles but this project is to understand just how much of a necessity handles are on the smaller one and two pint bottles. We dont have handles on bottles of squash, juice or carbonates, however, the handle provides significant structural support for the bottles.