UK – Müller has secured a long-term partnership with Biffa, a waste management company headquartered in High Wycombe, UK, in a deal that will allow the dairy company to meet increased demand for packaging made from recycled materials.

With demand for food grade recycled High Density Polyethylene (rHDPE) currently outstripping supply, the agreement will see Biffa continue to supply the recycled material that is used to make the dairy company’s fresh milk bottles.

Müller said that its rHDPE fresh milk bottles are already 100% recyclable. The company has also made substantial investment to enable it to manufacture its own fresh milk packaging, up to 40% of the plastic can be made from recycled material.

The partnership will further ensure that Müller continues to drive down its use of plastic. In 2019, following an innovative lightweighting exercise, the company managed to remove a further 840 tonnes of plastic from its fresh milk packaging. 

The business recently became the first dairy company in the UK to offer fresh school milk with paper straws, and has committed to removing all plastic straws from its products in 2020.

“We are more positive about the future because we’re turning our fresh milk business into a lean, agile and customer centric operation,” said Brendan Power, Commercial Director at Müller Milk & Ingredients.

“Our customers have made commitments to use an average of 30% recycled content in their plastic packaging, and consumer demand for innovative solutions continues to grow. We’re listening and aligning to their needs.

“Most of our packaging is made on site, not trucked in from elsewhere. So with this long term supply agreement, and our unique capability to pursue further inhouse innovation, we are able to offer our customers a leading plastics proposition.”

With a focus on sustainable innovation, the partnership will see Biffa’s Polymers division help Müller UK achieve levels of rHDPE inclusion in its milk bottles exceed the industry norm and the targets set by the UK’s Dairy Roadmap.

Launched in 2008, the UK’s Dairy Roadmap defines targets and produces regular reports on progress that the industry – including farmers, retailers, dairy manufacturers, government and industry partners – is making on environmental matters.

Commenting on the partnership, Chris Hanlon, Commercial Manager at Biffa Polymers said: “We are delighted to help Müller improve its usage of high-quality food grade recycled plastic.

“We are a trusted partner for dairy manufacturers and are committed to supporting them achieve their sustainability targets with innovative, industry leading technologies.”

The rHDPE plastic will be created at Biffa’s Redcar facility, the world’s first commercially available rHDPE food grade production plant built in 2008.

Against a backdrop of greater consumer demand for recycled plastic and the company’s own commitment to invest in greater recycling infrastructure in the UK, Biffa is also opening its first rPET plastic bottle recycling facility in Seaham, with an expected capacity to process 57,000 tonnes.