U.K. Dairy Industry Unveils Plan for Packaging, Energy, Emissions

U.K. Dairy Industry Unveils Plan for Packaging, Energy, Emissions

The UK milk industry and government have unveiled plans to increase the use of recycled materials in packaging, develop cleaner ways to handle waste and reduce the milk industry’s overall impact on the environment.

The Milk Roadmap was drawn up by industry stakeholders and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The plan calls for a steady increase in the amount of recycled plastic in milk containers, starting with replacing 10 percent of virgin plastic with recycled plastic by 2010, replacing 30 percent by 2015 and 50 percent by 2020. Plastic bottles represent the greatest amount of milk packaging, with 80 percent of milk being sold in plastic.

The eventual move to 50 percent recycled content bottles is expected to prevent the use of about 110 million pounds of virgin materials.

The Roadmap also addresses developing cleaner methods for dealing with waste, increasing renewable energy use, reducing water consumption and working towards sending zero waste to landfills.

The plan calls for creating centralized facilities for anaerobic digestion, a process in which microorganisms break down organic waste and other biodegradable materials. The facilities would take in waste from both food and dairy processing locations, and prevent the emission of landfill gases.

Along with replacing 40 percent of their energy with renewable sources, dairy farms plan to reduce their greenhouse has emissions from 1990 to 2020 by 20-30 percent.

A wide range of milk industry stakeholders took part in setting up the goals laid out in the document, including trade group Dairy UK, farming groups, retailers, packaging suppliers, feed manufacturers, processors and fertilizer manufacturers.