The UK-based WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) is supporting Dairy Crest in a project to research, design and pilot a new handle-free plastic milk bottle, as part of a drive to reduce packaging waste by 5,000 tonnes per annum.
The project will focus on one pint and two pint bottles. Packaging supplier Nampak will be responsible for developing the prototype high-density polyethylene (HDPE) handle-free bottle with Dairy Crest’s designers.
‘Nampak and Dairy Crest aim to achieve a 10 per cent reduction in weight with the new bottle, which will set a new light-weighting standard for the milk industry,’ said Peter Skelton, of the WRAP Retail Team.
‘Plastic milk bottles are probably the most common plastic item found in household waste and manufacturers and brand owners have taken the current handled designs as far as they can go in terms of lightweighting – the vital next step is perfecting a handle-free design which works for the consumer,’ he added.
‘We know consumers need a handle on the large four pint milk bottles but this project will help us understand just how much of a necessity handles are on the smaller one and two pint bottles,’ said Richard Pryor, innovations controller at Dairy Crest.
‘We don’t have handles on bottles of squash, juice or carbonates however the handle provides significant structural support for the bottles, so the project will focus on determining the considerable barriers of moving to a lighter bottle, and explore consumer acceptance, ergonomic grips, ease of opening, as well as production, filling and transport trials,’ he added.
WRAP aims to release the results of the Dairy Crest trials of the handle-free plastic milk bottles in summer 2008. At the moment, the project is currently at a design stage.
For more information on milk bottle concepts visit WRAP’s Concept Room: www.wrap.org.uk/retail/tools_for_change/index.html