Around 130,000 tons of plastics is used in milk packaging in the UK. In the UK 53% of milk is bought from supermarkets, 24% though other retail outlets, 7% via doorstep delivery and 16% through Horeca. Arla, Dairy Crest and Robert Wiseman are the UK's leading dairies. The UK has the one of the highest levels of penetration of plastic packaging for milk of any large European country. This high level of penetration and the British propensity to consume fresh milk have combined to make the packaging of milk an increasingly important focal point of the environmental debate. Retailing is highly developed in the UK and the milk companies that supply the retail segment, by comparison with elsewhere in Europe, operate large and well invested dairies, hence the direction that milk packaging takes in the UK is a subject of interest throughout Europe.
AMI Consulting has today released a report on the status of, and prospects for, milk packaging in the UK. The report looks at the potential for change whether driven by consumer, political, economic or technological considerations. In particular the report focuses on the likely future role for PET, rPET, HDPE, rHDPE and pouches. While each material and format has its merits it also has disadvantages. A significant shift in the use of recyclate requires improved collection and recycling, proof of safe use and regulatory approval. Significant challenges downstream in the value chain are performance during filling and market positioning by the retailers.
This new report provides the facts about milk packaging today and reviews the pressures within the value chain in order to forecast what can be expected through to 2012. The principle conclusion is that rHDPE will play an increasingly important role, but that PET and rPET will struggle to find much growth without new pressure from legislators, despite advantages which are seeing it gain market share in many other packaging segments.