Clear Cap

Source: Müller Milk & Ingredients

Following succesful trials, the supplier said the move would increase the rHDPE’s availability on the market by 1,560 tonnes a year

Müller Milk & Ingredients is to switch all its coloured milk bottle caps to clear, recyclable plastic, following a series of successful trials.

The dairy giant said it aimed to convert its whole range – consisting of both own label and branded milk – by next summer and had already started the process.

In a phased approach (which started in November and will complete in December) the supplier is currently converting all green semi-skimmed milk – its most popular line – to clear caps.

All other coloured caps will be converted by summer 2023, with Müller also “continuing to investigate ways to add recycled content into the caps”, it said.

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.

Introducing clear caps would enable the retention of the material for reuse within the food sector, Müller said. And given how demand for rHDPE was currently outstripping supply, the move to a “closed loop system” was expected to increase the material’s availability on the market by 1,560 tonnes a year – further reducing requirements for virgin plastic.

The announcement follows Müller’s recent conversion of 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, the supplier added.

Müller had previously undertaken trials of clear caps in partnership with Waitrose, Aldi and Lidl.

“The humble rHDPE milk bottle is already a tremendous example of the circular economy, but we wanted to do more,” said MMI CEO Rob Hutchison.

“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.”