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Infini innovation

One and two pint versions of Nampak’s award-winning Infini milk bottle will be launched this summer. Nampak Plastics managing director Eric Collins explains what impact this will have

Earlier this year, Nampak trialled, tested and supplied the world’s first four-pint milk bottle containing up to 30% recycled high density polyethylene (rHDPE).  This achievement means that the target of reaching the 30% recycled content mark by 2015 – set by Dairy UK and Defra in the Dairy Roadmap – has been reached two years ahead of schedule. And the move will not only have a significant impact on Nampak’s carbon footprint, but will also save the dairy industry around 25,000 tonnes of material each year.

Following this success, the company has now gone further to launch one litre, one pint and two pint versions of the bottle. With a view to reducing material usage, and curbing its carbon footprint further, Nampak is launching the new bottles this summer with up to 15% rHDPE and has further plans to increase this up to 30% by 2014.  The new one litre, one pint and two pint versions of Infini will result in a combined material saving of 4,500 tonnes, and a combined carbon saving 12,000 tonnes.

As the UK’s leading manufacturer of plastic milk bottles, producing some two billion bottles every year, Nampak Plastics has a responsibility to ensure it is creating innovative, sustainable packaging solutions.

Indeed, sustainability is at the heart of the Nampak business. The Infini bottle is globally recognised as one of the world’s lightest and strongest plastic milk bottles. To date, 160 million Infini bottles have been produced and sold from retailers including Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.

Consumer and retailer feedback regarding the Infini bottle has so far been extremely positive - with research showing that most consumers prefer the Infini design, with the handle on the corner being particularly appealing. Further to this, the Infini design means that the strength of the bottle has not been compromised, and with quality recycled material now available, Nampak believes this should become a benchmark for future manufacturing.

Such successes have seen Infini claim a number of industry awards, including a 2013 National Recycling Award for waste minimisation. While on a global scale the bottle received a silver prize for sustainability at the WorldStar Awards in May.

Since the plastic milk bottle is one of the most widely used items of packaging in the country, there are opportunities for such product innovations to have a big impact. Nampak recognises the need for innovation in the industry and the Infini bottle is a game-changer in its market.  However, whilst great strides have been made already with Infini, this is only the beginning.

Dairy Roadmap

The Dairy Roadmap taskforce believes it is unique in the world in bringing together the entire dairy supply chain, from farmers through to retailers, to agree such a broad programme with hard, time-bound environmental sustainability targets.

Its 2020 Dairy manufacturer targets include:

  • 15% improvement in energy efficiency
  • 30% relative reduction in water brought onto site
  • To send zero ex-factory waste to landfill
  • 50% recycled material in HDPE milk bottles
  • All tertiary packaging to be reusable or recyclable

 

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