I’ve spent the morning working through the business plan for th London Waste and Recycling Board (LWaRB), personal habits play an important part of waste reduction and recycling but product packaging also plays an important part.
Which brings me onto the Cravendale situation. Most milk bottles are made of a plastic called High-density polyethylene (HDPE) which can be recycled back into food grade plastic, indeed I visited a recycling facility in Dagenham which conducts that very process. This process relies on the HDPE being clear, which most milk bottles are. However Cravendale buck the trend and add white dye to their HDPE bottles meaning they cannot be recycled with the 95% of other milk bottles in the country. Cheers fellas!
Their excuse is that the white plastic protects the milk from the sun, I suspect it has much more to do with product differentiation and stand out on the shelf. When confronted with the fact that their product positioning screws up the ability to recycle with other HDPE products their reaction is to suggest a separate recycling channel for their product.
“In an ideal world we would have a dedicated reprocessing stream for white bottles, if they become a sufficient proportion of the waste stream.”
said their packaging manager Richard Taplin.
There is more willingness to reduce waste and recycle than ever before but manufactures and retailers have got to pull their weight. If clear bottles are good enough for 95% of milk sold in the UK I find it hard to believe that Cravendale can’t change their bottles and help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill or being burnt.