Waitrose is the first supermarket to permanently scrap the coloured milk cap

Following a successful trial earlier this year to replace the colourful blue, green and red milk bottle caps with a clear version, Waitrose confirm that the move will be permanent in all 331 shops across the estate with immediate effect.

In a UK first, this means the bottle and cap can now be recycled together in a ‘closed loop’ system allowing the caps to be recycled and reused as food grade material which was not possible with the coloured caps.  The move could increase the amount of rHDPE available on the market back into the food sector by 1560 tonnes per annum.

The new clear caps will be used on all Essential Waitrose milk which accounts for 44% of milk sales with plans to roll out more widely across the Waitrose own label milk range next year. The label artwork on these Essential Waitrose Milk Bottles has been redesigned to add more colour to assist customers in selecting their milk of choice in store.

Lisa Oaten, milk buyer at Waitrose said: “Milk is one of our best-selling products, so to be able to bring this packaging improvement to an everyday essential across all of our stores is fantastic.  Partner and customer feedback during the trial has been overwhelmingly positive and this national rollout will help us achieve our goal of making more of the plastic we use circular and fit to be repurposed time and time again.”

Muller, who buy a fifth of all milk produced by British farms and who Waitrose partnered with on this trial is the first dairy company in the UK to trial clear caps on fresh milk.  They will produce the fresh milk bottles in-house which are 100% recyclable and contain up to 40% food grade recycled material.

Demand for rHDPE outstrips supply, by introducing the clear caps and keeping material within a closed loop system there will be more rHDPE available on the market, further reducing the dependency on virgin plastic.

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