Tesco introduces change to over 425 million bottles of milk – with new clear caps making it easier for customers to recycle at home

Customers shopping at Tesco will soon see changes across its own brand milk – as the supermarket works with suppliers to make milk bottles even easier to recycle. 

By removing coloured plastic and changing blue, red and green milk caps to a clear alternative – on around 425 million bottles of milk every year – Tesco is improving the quality of recovered material from household waste and enabling the cap to be recycled back into milk bottles. Customers are encouraged to squash or crush empty bottles, replacing the original lid before recycling to ensure it is not lost or discarded. 

Coloured plastic currently needs to be processed separately from clear packaging, and so this simple change means that each year 3,900 extra tonnes of recycled plastic can go back into making new bottles, a process which can be repeated every time a customer recycles it. 

The move will be seen in all Tesco stores, and across 4 pint, 2 pint and 1 pint bottles of milk. Different variants of milk – whole, semi-skimmed and skimmed – will still be clearly identifiable, thanks to coloured block labels around the main bottle.

James Waddy, Category Director for Dairy, said: “Ensuring our packaging is as sustainable as possible is really important to us, and customer feedback on our trial of these new clear milk caps has been overwhelmingly positive. We will continue to look for ways to improve the packaging of our products, and make it even easier for customers to recycle at home.”

Tesco follows its 4Rs strategy when it comes to plastic and packaging – aiming to remove plastic where it can, reduce where it can’t, reuse more and recycle what’s left. Earlier this month, the supermarket announced a trial of fresh mince ‘pillow packs’, which use 70% less plastic and are fully recyclable at in-store soft plastic collection points.                                           

To date, Tesco has removed around 2.2 billion pieces of plastic from its UK business, including: 

  • 200+ million bags from Tesco.com deliveries
  • 100+ million extra lids from products such as wipes, creams, yogurts and desserts
  • 33 million pieces of plastic from bakery bread and doughnuts 

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