New Zealand’s largest company has pledged to make all its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.
Since the move to package milk in plastic Kiwis have fawned over the days when milk was delivered in glass bottles.
But Fonterra Head of Sustainability Carolyn Mortland said it would not be making the return to glass.
«You end up using a lot of emissions in trucking very heavy glass containers back to Auckland where they can be re-washed.
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«Because we distribute milk bottles all across the country it doesn’t make economic or environmental sense to be distributing them backward and forward, we’d need an infrastructure throughout New Zealand that enabled them to be washed and reused.»
The move is one of two announcements, to move to zero solid waste to landfill by 2025 and to 100 per cent recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging.
Fonterra’s current milk bottles are recyclable but it was looking at how it could go further, she said.
The company’s Anchor bottles are recyclable as plastic grade two – which means they can be recycled in New Zealand.
Fonterra claims it’s been proven that milk is damaged by exposure to light.
Its light-proof bottle is made of three layers of plastic – a white interior and exterior with a black sheet of plastic sandwiched in-between, but the black layer makes it hard to recycle.
The colour means the bottles are often bundled in with other plastic grades, and export markets for mixed grades of plastic have dried up.
Mortland said the more valuable plastic for recycling was clear plastic and Fonterra wanted to move to a more recyclable type of plastic.
«We’re balancing between food safety and quality.»
Ninety per cent of its products were already recyclable, it was the 10 last per cent that would be tough to change, she said.
«It’s things like yoghurt pottles, plastic straws, foil seals on drinks.
«We’ve got to take things one step at a time and signing up to this commitment is the first step.»