Coloured caps cannot currently be recycled into food-grade packaging. Clear caps would enable the retention of the material for reuse within the food sector and reduce its reliance on virgin plastics, the businesses claimed.
The move could increase availability of recycled high density polyethylene (rHDPE) on the market by 1,560 tonnes each year, they added.
The trial will take place between 4 and 30 April in all 331 Waitrose stores, following a successful in-house trial.
The majority of shoppers would support the change, research from Müller suggested. Eight out of 10 consumers told the brand they would choose a bottle of milk with a colourless cap over a coloured one.
“In an industry that needs access to more rHDPE, we are really excited to collaborate with Waitrose across all of their shops and trial this additional solution,” said Liam McNamara, commercial director at Müller Milk & Ingredients.
The supplier’s bottles “already contain up to 40% recycled material, but with access to more, we can partner with our customers to increase this further”, he added. “But we will not stop there, we are also looking at ways to add recycled content into our clear caps. As the first dairy company in the UK to trial clear caps on fresh milk, we are working hard to innovate and lead in issues that are not only important for customers, but for consumers too,” said McNamara.
Karen Graley, packaging innovation lead at Waitrose, added: “As food businesses, we need to do more to protect our planet from unnecessary plastic waste. So we’re delighted to be involved in this trial.”
Waitrose had “a proud heritage of being first to trial step-change innovations in this space – from rolling out the UK’s first refillables in-store to removing single-use plastic toys in children’s magazines”, she said “We are proud to be working alongside Müller to show that leadership again.”