Dairy players sought to aid HDPE recycle potential

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Recycling Milk Dairy uk

A new project to improve the recycling potential of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) milk bottles aims to develop more cost effective labels and adhesives that won’t compromise the reuse of the packaging.

The Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a UK government-backed programme charged with ensuring that industry can meet EU requirements on reducing waste, says it is calling on the European dairy industry to help with the new scheme.

As a global priority, the dairy industry in the last year has announced a number of initiatives designed to improve the environmental impacts of its operations from the farm up to retail shelves.

WRAP claims that the inks and adhesives currently used on HDPE bottles have been leaking into the plastic polymers, which can compromise the amount of material that can be reused in packaging.

Tenders are now being sought to sign up to the focus by 12 September, with the aim of having 50 per cent of the UK milk industry adopting the products into their operations by 2012.

Euro scope

A spokesperson for the program told DairyReporter.com that the research and development was open to manufacturers and stakeholders across Europe that complied with its focus, with the findings to made available to groups around the world.

Paul Davidson, WRAP’s plastics section manager, said the new labels could have major industry benefits, if successfully implemented.

“A successful system will not only improve the quality of the recycled polymer, but it will enable new milk bottles to be manufactured with a higher recycled content in closed loop recycling systems,”​ he stated.

“Increasing the use of recycled content will deliver Carbon dioxide (CO2) savings through greater substitution of virgin polymer in the manufacture of new bottles, as well as conserve valuable resources and divert waste from landfill.”

Wider eco-focus

Packaging is just one area of a recently announced milk roadmap scheme, which industry association Dairy UK says has been designed to reduce the environmental impact of producing and transporting liquid milk.

"The Roadmap contains targets for closed loop recycling of plastic milk bottles as well as dairies sending near zero waste to landfill,"​ a spokesperson for the association stated. "Other projects include lightweighting bottles to reduce the amount of plastic used in making each one and offering consumers the option of fresh milk in bags, which generates far less waste than a bottle."

The roadmap has garnered interest from a number of its international counterparts, Dairy UK claims.

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