The UK's single most popular grocery item the plastic milk bottle is in for a major overhaul with the launch of a 'greener' design in retailers this summer.
The new Infini bottle, made by packaging company Nampak, is designed to use on average 15% less plastic than current milk bottles, with an associated carbon saving of about 12%.
The savings on plastic are achieved by using a bottle design that does not force the material as far into each of the bottle's corners as is the case with standard milk bottles. As a result, a four-pint Infini bottle will weigh 35g, compared with 40g at the moment, while a two-pint bottle will weigh 22g compared with 26g.
There have been many green milk packaging innovations recently, including Jug-It milk bags and GreenBottle, a papier maché bottle being trialled by Asda at the moment.
But Nampak development director James Crick said he was confident his company's new bottle would get a far wider rollout than previous green initiatives, partly because, unlike some of the others, it was still a plastic bottle. "What we're doing with Infini is an evolution of the milk bottle, not a revolution," he said. "The plastic milk bottle is a very successful format, and it meets consumers' needs. We wanted to preserve that."
Nampak counts liquid milk giants Dairy Crest, Arla and Robert Wiseman as its clients, and also works with Yeo Valley. Crick said feedback from them had been positive, although he would not reveal who would be on board when Infini starts rolling out this summer.
Dairy Crest said it was involved in trialling Infini but added that it was too early to draw conclusions on a rollout.
Infini will be expected to help the dairy sector meet its environmental targets under the Courtauld Commitment and the Milk Roadmap.
Using less plastic will also ultimately translate into raw material savings for dairy companies a key consideration given rising oil prices.
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