The bottle, which was designed by Fonterra’s flagship fresh milk brand, Anchor, to lock in the organoleptic and nutritional properties of fresh milk that can be damaged by light, received 161 of the 287 nominations in Unpackit's 2013 Packaging Awards 'Worst Packaging' category.
“It can’t be recycled, it is more expensive, and completely unnecessary because your milk doesn’t see the light anyway,” one nominator commented.
Despite the overwhelming negative response to the bottle, it failed to make it through to the final eight because, according to Unpackit, it is “recyclable, clearly labelled and similar in weight to the bottle it replaced.”
“There will be some people who are very disappointed the bottle has not made it on to the shortlist but based on our criteria it was a long way from the worst product on the list,” said Unpackit spokeswoman, Sue Coutts.
Coutts added, however, that the bottle, which consists of one black and two white layers of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), has put “increased financial pressure on recyclers.”
“Recyclers were frustrated. The recycling industry only finds out about changes to packaging when it hits the shelves. Long term contracts and tight margins mean changes to packaging can have a dramatic effect on bottom lines,” she said.
Anchor has disputed this, claiming that the bottle has always been recyclable.
In a statement sent to DairyReporter.com, the company attributing the bottle’s ‘Worst Packaging’ nomination to “consumer confusion.”
“Being nominated did signal to us that there was consumer confusion about the bottle being recyclable,” said Anchor group marketing manager, Craig Irwin. “However, the bottle is recyclable and made from the same, high-grade HDPE plastic as the original bottle.”
He added that Anchor has actually “closed the loop” by lining up recycling separators with recycled product manufacturers.
“We are proud to announce that it is now part of a closer loop recycling system within New Zealand. This means there is 100% capacity to use all of the bottles in the manufacture of new products by recyclers right here in New Zealand."
Fonterra Tetra Pak nomination
Anchor’s Fonterra Milk for School Tetra Pak carton also earned a hand full of nominations in the ‘Worst Packaging’ category.
One nominator branded the carton, “Another Fonterra special."
“Teachers have to get students to fold each carton and Fonterra provides schools with designated recycling bins. The Tetra Pak and straws are sent to Thailand to be recycled into ghastly roof tiles,” said another.