UK – German supermarket giant, Aldi is teaming up with Great Britain’s largest supplier and distributor of milk, Müller for a trial of clear caps for its milk bottles in an effort to drive recyclability.
The pilot is due to begin later this month across Aldi’s own brand bottled semi-skimmed milk stores in Cheshire, Manchester and Liverpool.
According to the companies, clear plastic caps are easier to recycle alongside the high-density polythene (HDPE) used to make milk bottles compared to colored tops.
While clear caps are made from the same type of plastic, colored plastics cannot be currently recycled back into food-grade packaging.
“There is a greater demand for recycled HDPE than supply, and by keeping the material within a ‘closed loop’ system, there can be more rHDPE available on the market, further reducing dependency on virgin plastic,” said Müller spokesperson.
“Our milk bottles already contain up to 40% recycled material, but with access to more, we can partner with our customers to increase this further.”
If successful, the trial will be expanded to all the retailer’s Müller-supplied stores, converting an additional 60 tons of recycled plastics back into food-grade packaging each year.
Aldi Plastic and Packaging Director Richard Gorman said: “We know it’s becoming increasingly important to our customers that their everyday products are environmentally friendly, and we are constantly reviewing ways to become a more sustainable supermarket.
“By trialing clear milk caps, we are making our milk bottles easier to recycle, so they can be turned back into new packaging.”
The initiative is part of Aldi’s efforts to increase its use of recycled materials in its products to drive sustainability.
The retailer has committed to making 50% of its plastic packaging from recycled materials by 2025.
The trial follows a similar program by Waitrose in collaboration with Müller in May, to replace blue, green, and red caps with clear caps for own-brand HDPE milk bottles across all of the retailer’s stores.
Following “overwhelmingly positive” feedback during the trial, Waitrose has made the switch to clear caps permanent across its Essential Waitrose milk range, apparently accounting for around 44% of the retailer’s milk sales.
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