This article first appeared in Convenience & Impulse Retailing, authored by Thomas Oakley-Newell.
Woolworths has introduced new clear lids on its own brand milk, meaning it can now be recycled into a greater variety of new products.
The lids, which are currently dark and light blue, have already started popping up in Victorian, NSW, Qld stores this week for an initial trial and will be rolled out nationally across all stores by early next year.
Will Herron, Dairy Merchandise Manager at Woolworths, said this small change will lead to better recycling for millions of milk bottles once it rolls out across the range.
“We’re pleased to be the first Australian supermarket to start the switch for our own brand milk to help our customers’ good recycling habits go further.
“Our customers are pretty cluey – so we expect them to spot the change, but it’s important they know why their milk bottle looks a little different.”
Coloured plastic currently needs to be separated from clear plastic during recycling. While coloured plastic can presently be recycled, the coloured pigment makes it less versatile as it can only be recycled into dark coloured plastic.
Clear plastic leads to better quality recycling and allows the lids to be turned back into clear or coloured plastic, which means it could potentially be used to make a new milk bottle.
The change means up to 290,000kg of plastic from millions of milk bottles will now be more effectively recycled each year.
Chis Foley, CEO of Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), said small changes like this stack up to help recycled material go into a greater variety of new products, and they hope to see more companies follow this move.
“Customers should always look for the Australasian Recycling Label logo on their Woolworths brand milk and other supermarket products for easy-to-follow instructions to ensure their packaging ends up in the right place.”