During a visit to a bottle recycling facility, Labour MP Alan Whitehead said some parts of the packaging industry are not fulfilling their obligation to use recycled materials.
The Southampton MP, who has campaigned in the past for a legally binding minimum level of recycled materials in plastic bottles, picked out the dairy industry for criticism.
“The milk packaging industry in particular is well behind,” said Whitehead during a visit to the Closed Loop Recycling facility in London.
In a letter to Packaging News, which originally published the comments, Dairy UK hit back at this accusation.
“UK dairy companies are in fact in the vanguard when it comes to using recycled HDPE, with all major companies involved in trials with the material,” said Fergus McReynolds, environment manager at Dairy UK.
He added: “The dairy sector fully expects to meet its target of 10 per cent inclusion of rHDPE in milk bottles by the end of next year.”
The target was established last year in the Milk Roadmap, drawn up by industry, government and stakeholders from across the dairy supply chain.
In plans that aim to reduce the use of virgin material by 30 per cent over three years, the dairy industry committed to including 10 per cent recycled HDPE by 2010 and gradually increasing that figure to 50 per cent by 2020.
Health and safety
McReynolds underlined the challenge this poses to the industry.
He said: “Incorporating recycled HDPE is a major undertaking because the safety and quality of our products is of paramount importance and cannot be compromised.
“Rigorous testing of the material, including shelf-life testing, is vital to ensure that recycled HDPE really is capable of keeping milk safe, healthy and nutritious.”