New 'tinted' milk caps will boost plastic recycling yields, Robert Wiseman

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Robert wiseman, Dairy, Recycling, Milk

UK dairy processing giant Robert Wiseman Dairies is set to introduce a new 'tinted' milk cap that it claims will significantly increase the quantity of recycled plastic available for use in its packaging.

A Robert Wiseman spokesman told DairyReporter.com that the firm was poised to roll-out the new cap - made by UK packaging supplier Closures Ltd - on products following successful trials with customers.

The dairy firm said its new cap reduces the discolouration effect that traditional caps have on recycled polymer in regard to plastic recycling, and would ensure a higher quality and quantity of plastic available for reuse.

The new caps have been developed by Robert Wiseman in association with Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which has identified tinted caps (of which over 2bn a year are produced by the UK dairy industry) as a major initiative to minimise the discolouration effect on recycled plastic.

Hard colour replaced

A Robert Wiseman spokesman told DairyReporter.com that the new caps worked by "replacing hard colour with a tint", and that the dairy processor had worked with WRAP for around 6 months with on project.

He added: "We're already starting to roll it out, and have held successful consumer trials when there was no adverse feedback at all."

The spokesman said the new caps had been developed in response to supply issues regarding non-virgin plastic, with prices relatively high and supplies "somewhat constrained"​ by the availability of the right quality and grade of recycling plastic.

He said: "One of the main challenges affecting the supply of that plastic is discolouration. If we are to move from our current level of 10 per cent recycled plastic in our bottles to 30 per cent by 2015, then we believe we've got to help the industry address the supply problem."

Ambitious sustainability goal

The spokesman added that, whereas most of Robert Wiseman's sustainability initiatives were about generating ideas that provided commercial returns, for instance, reducing fuel usage, the cap issue was different.

He said: "The caps we're buying from Closures Ltd. are at the same cost to us, but the medium to long-term impact should be that the quality of recycled plastic should begin to improve now, whihc will help us meet our long-term targets."

"If we do that for a 1/3 of Britain's milk [processed by Robert Wiseman] then we should start to see an impact. If the rest of the industry chooses to follow us, then the quality of the recyling should improve."

WRAP head of products and materials, Mervyn Jones, said the UK's other major fresh milk processors were now "actively working"​ towards the introduction of similar tinted caps.

He said: "WRAP will continue to work closely with Dairy UK, the dairy sector's trade association, to help see this important measure implemented throughout the UK."

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