Morrisons is claiming a UK supermarket first after switching nine fresh milk SKUs to new carbon neutral Tetra Pak cartons.
It said the move to cartons, which started rolling out to stores over the past few days, would save an initial 100 tonnes of plastic a year.
Certified by The Carbon Trust as carbon neutral, the cartons are recyclable at kerbside in most UK regions and at recycling banks across the country.
They are made from plant-based paperboard, which is FSC certified and features a thin layer of plastic coating and twist caps made from polyethylene which is derived from sustainably sourced sugarcane.
The nine milk lines come in 500ml, one-litre and two-litre sizes and cover skimmed, semi-skimmed and whole milk options. They are priced at 60p for 500ml, 95p for one-litre and £1.25 for two-litres.
Fourteen of Morrisons’ 19 fresh juice SKUs have also moved over to recyclable cartons in recent weeks – saving another 678 tonnes of plastic per year.
The retailer said fresh milk was currently “one of the single biggest users of plastic packaging within UK supermarkets, accounting for approximately 10% of all plastic used”.
But if consumers took to the new packaging, Morrisons would consider moving all its fresh milk to Tetra Pak cartons “in time”, said the supermarket’s dairy category director Tony Fearon.
“Fresh milk does not need to be in a plastic bottle. It keeps just as fresh in a carton,” he said. “It is the top user of plastic packaging in our stores, so this will result in significant plastic reduction.”
The move is the latest initiative from Morrisons to remove plastic packaging from its stores and follows other commitments.
It was the first supermarket to introduce paper carrier bags at checkouts in 2019, launched plastic-free bananas last year and announced plans to replace loo and kitchen roll plastic packaging with paper alternatives earlier this month.
Morrisons has also committed to a 50% reduction across its own-brand primary plastic packaging by 2025. And since 2017, has reduced own-label plastic packaging by more than 8,000 tonnes a year and replaced another 7,000 tonnes so it is fully recyclable.
The retailer added that it was the only UK supermarket to own a recycling plant in Fife, which will reprocess hard-to-recycle soft plastic.