Working together to achieve the maximum possible recycling rate of white PET, the most future-proof milk bottle
In 2019, Colruyt Group started a partnership with the Belgian dairy company Inex and 330 of its affiliated dairy farmers. This partnership means that the participating dairy farmers receive a fixed price of 34.76 cents/litre for a fixed percentage of their milk volume for at least five years. Since 1 April 2020, the first milk products from this project has been available on the shelves under Boni Selection’s own label, however, in different packaging. Boni Selection milk used to be in HDPE bottles but we have now opted to use a white PET bottle: the most future-proof milk bottle.
What are white PET bottles?
The 5 Boni Selection milk products previously sold in HDPE bottles are now sold in white PET bottles. These milk bottles are white and opaque, i.e. not transparent. Because these opaque bottles block out light, they are the best packaging for storing UHT milk.
Why use white PET bottles?
Using white PET bottles makes it easier for us to comply with the European directives on single use plastics. White PET bottles are already manufactured using 25% recycled materials and this percentage will increase to 50% in the future, whereas recycled materials cannot currently be used to manufacture the HDPE bottles for UHT milk. Furthermore, it will be possible to fix the top to the bottle (as is already the case for some water bottles), which is not currently possible with HDPE bottles. As the white PET bottles are lighter in weight and manufactured from recycled material, their use also means a reduction in the use of new raw materials. Another advantage is that our supplier achieves efficiency gains due to higher production speeds and lower water and energy consumption.
Easy to use
The bottle is also easy to use: the top of this type of packaging creates a better seal and the aluminium tag is therefore no longer necessary. Thanks to the better seal, consumers can store these bottles horizontally in the fridge without having to worry about them leaking (which isn’t the case with HDPE bottles).
One aim: maximum possible recycling
The switch made by Colruyt Group to white PET bottles is a huge boost to achieving the critical volume for the recycling of all opaque PET bottles (white and other colours). After all, recycling is only feasible is there are sufficient volumes of every type of plastic.
The entire chain working together
Colruyt Group's packaging and sustainability experts have worked intensively with Fost Plus to coordinate a complete sorting & recycling process throughout the entire chain. Together with all parties, including Plarebel, Inex and the sorting and recycling centres, they looked at how the new packaging could be designed with a view to increasing recycling rates and creating new recycling solutions.
It is the ambition of Fost Plus to provide recycling solutions for 100% of the household packaging on the Belgian market.
Specifically for opaque PET bottles, Fost Plus has the ambition to achieve an even greater level of recycling and to promote and encourage recycling in Belgium. That is why a sorting and recycling development process has started and which will last for the next 2 to 3 years, which is the normal duration for any new type of material. After all, the entire chain needs to be involved in the process. It is expected that a global solution will be found by 2022-2023.
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.