Packaging manager Richard Taplin told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We are currently working towards meeting DEFRA’s (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’) milk roadmap targets of 30% by 2015 and 50% by 2020.
“In terms of incorporating 30% by 2015 we are very confident of achieving this. Bradford University has researched the possibility of incorporating this percentage of rHDPE [recycled high-density polyethylene] into bottles and proved that it does not compromise the integrity or functionality of the bottle.
“Similarly, we do not see an issue in rHDPE availability.With regards to achieving the 50% target by 2020, work is ongoing in the industry to understand how this will be achieved in terms of rHDPE availability.”
Polybottles from sugar cane
Arla was also in discussions with Brazilian firm Braskem to explore using biopolymers made from sugar cane for its polybottles, he added. Unlike most biopolymers, this could be recycled together with synthetic plastics.
Braskem is currently building the world's first commercial-scale 'green polyethylene' plant in Brazil, and aims to start supplying Tetra Pak and other customers early next year.
Coca-Cola is also pressing on with green packaging initiatives, and aims to produce 2bn plant-derived bottles by the end of this year.
However, the challenge remains moving from a 30% plant-derived PET bottle to a 100% plant-based bottle.