The lightweighting project is expected to reduce the average weight of the Arla two-pint milk bottle from 25g to 20g and deliver a carbon saving of up to 16,000 tonnes.
This compares to a carbon saving of 4000 tonnes that Arla has achieved through lightweighting since 2007.
Arla is currently working with its packaging suppliers to meet the latest target. Richard Taplin, packaging manager at Arla, told this publication that production of the new super light weight bottles is expected to begin later on this year.
But before full-scale production begins, trials have to be completed. Taplin said: “The challenge a project of this scale presents is ensuring the compatibility of the new super light-weight bottles for use within our existing supply chain and we are commencing a trial programme shortly.”
In addition to the lightweighting work, Arla has been actively adding recycled materials to its milk bottles to meet UK government targets set out in the Milk Roadmap. The company has upped its use of recycled-HDPE in its milk bottles to 15 per cent – exceeding the Milk Roadmap target of 10 per cent by 2010.
This packaging work is specific to the UK because its milk market is unusual in being dominated by HDPE but the projects are part of a broader company effort to improve its environmental impact.
For example, in the UK the company is building a billion-litre fresh milk processing facility in Aylesbury that is planned to be a zero carbon facility.
Explaining the long-term environmental goals, Arla’s UK supply chain director Lars Dalsgaard said: “In December we announced that we are targeting a 34 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions from our operations by 2020 and ensuring that we have the most environmentally-sustainable packaging portfolio possible will play a key role in us delivering this target.”