UK research and development to boost recyclability of plastic milk bottles

Posted by Isobel Drake on 19th August 2008

Research and development work into boosting the recyclability of plastic milk bottles is to be launched by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme).WRAP is inviting tenders to develop a cost-effective label, ink and adhesive system for use on HDPE milk bottles that will not contaminate the plastic during recycling, with the aim of encouraging its greater use in new bottle manufacture.

WRAP’s target is for 50% of the milk industry’s capacity to commit to implementing the new system by 2011.

The work will include:

* Assessing the challenges in bottle, ink, adhesive and label design and identifying potential solutions
* Developing a viable system that does not taint the recycled polymer during the recycling process
* Evaluating the system’s economic and environmental viability
* Large-scale trials of a developed solution

Paul Davidson, Plastics Sector Manager, reported that innovation is anticipated to result in improved quality of recycled packaging. “A successful system will not only improve the quality of the recycled polymer, but it will enable new milk bottles to be manufactured with a higher recycled content in closed loop recycling systems,” he said. “Increasing the use of recycled content will deliver CO2 savings through greater substitution of virgin polymer in the manufacture of new bottles, as well as conserve valuable resources and divert waste from landfill.”