Trial supports milk bottle recycling

By George Reynolds

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Recycling, Recyclable materials, Wrap

Recycled plastic milk bottles perform identically to those made
from virgin resin and could reduce packaging waste sent
to landfill sites, according to a
UK government-funded trial.

The Waste Resources Action Programme (Wrap) trial reported a 66 per cent efficiency in the recovery of high density polyethylene (HDPE), and has developed a best practice that the industry can imitate. Wrap is a government-backed programme charged with ensuring that the UK meets EU requirements on reducing waste throughout the bloc. The government is focusing on retailers and manufacturers to cut down on packaging waste, either by reducing the amount they use for their products, or by using more recyclable, reusable and biodegradable materials. Paul Davidson, Wrap's plastics technology manager, said consumer endorsement for recycled encourages processors to adopt the technology. "The milk bottles that the UK can produce as a result of this trial represent the world's best practice in plastic bottle milk packaging and will save significant amounts of energy and greenhouses gases, as well as making a major contribution to landfill reduction as the technology spreads through the milk bottling industry."​ Plastic bottles collected from UK-based recyclers Recoup were sent to the Sorepla Industrie SA plant in France for washing and grinding. The flaked plastic was then transported back to the UK and blow-moulded back into about 60,000 new milk bottles at Nampak Plastics. The new bottles were made of about 30 per cent recycled material. The bottles were then filled by Dairy Crest dairies, before tests were carried out to determine if the recycled HDPE was safe for food contact. According to UK and European food hygiene regulations, the bottles were found to "fully comply with all regulations and therefore safe for use in milk bottles",​ the report stated. WRAP said it had also recently received a 'non objection' notification for the process from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), reinforcing the international significance of the technology. The UK currently uses about five million tonnes of plastic each year, of which about 19 per cent is recovered and recycled, according to Wrap.

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