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Return of the milkman to cut waste?

The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee has called for the packaging industry to introduce more refillable packaging systems to reduce waste.

Addressing a packaging industry audience at the IGD [food and grocery analysts] Packaging and product resource efficiency conference in London, Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee communications manager Sarah Dagwell said that the refillable packaging initiative is something that seems to have dropped off the agenda.

Dagwell said: This is something that used to happen a lot [using refillable packaging]. We used to have milkman come to our doors and their used to be an industry that collected bottles back from pubs and clubs and containers were used again.

What we would really like to see is that initiative looked at again.

However, packaging industry trade body Incpen director Jane Bickestaffe said that retailers were constantly working on innovations to use refillable packaging. She said that coffee firm Kenco had recently launched an Eco Refill product for consumers to refill old Kenco coffee containers.

Bickestaffe also said that refillable systems were not always the best systems to tackle packaging waste. She explained that refillable containers were made out of thicker materials so the walls do not crash so more materials went into making them.

She added that for a refillable packaging system to work the people implementing the system would have to make sure the containers were returned and not thrown in the dustbin.

Bickerstaffe said: When we used to have local dairies in town women tended to stay at home but now more women are working. In the past, when the milk got delivered people had already left for work and the milk had gone off before they got home in the evening.

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