In a phased approach, which started in November and will complete in December, the dairy company is currently converting all green semi-skimmed milk, its most popular, into clear caps.
While Müller’s milk bottles, which are manufactured in-house, are fully recyclable and made of at least 30% recycled material (rHDPE), the coloured caps cannot currently be recycled back into food grade packaging.
The introduction of clear caps will enable the retention of the material for reuse within the food sector.
With demand for rHDPE outstripping supply, the move to a ‘closed loop system’ is expected to increase the availability on the market by 1560 tonnes per annum, further reducing requirements for ‘virgin’ plastic.
All other coloured caps will be converted by summer 2023, and Müller is continuing to investigate ways to add recycled content into the caps.
Müller recently converted 75% of its cream volume to rPET pots which are 100% recyclable and contain 82% recycled material, removing 500 tonnes of additional virgin plastic from its annual production. Packaging solutions are being developed for the remaining volume for 2023.
Rob Hutchison, Chief Executive Officer at Müller Milk & Ingredients, said:
“The humble rHDPE milk bottle is already a tremendous example of the circular economy, but we wanted to do more. We want to be the partner of choice for our customers, so we will continue to deliver outstanding levels of service and quality, but also innovate and lead on issues like this which are hugely important, not only for shoppers, but for our customers too.