A dairy processor in Northern Ireland is increasing its sustainability by switching from coloured caps on its milk containers to clear ones.
The move by Dale Farm on all its own branded and own-label milk is set to make the company’s milk packaging more recyclable. Coloured milk bottle caps cannot be easily recycled; therefore, the switch to clear caps means that bottles and caps can now be recycled together into food-grade packaging.
With headquarters in Belfast, Dale Farm is a dairy co-op owned by 1,300 farmers handling around a billion litres of milk per year.
It is estimated that the switch will return nearly 60 million caps, which equates to around 72 tonnes, to food-grade packaging each year.
Ed Wright, head of sustainability at Dale Farm, says the move is the latest in a series of measures to improve sustainability across the business: “At Dale Farm, we want to lead the dairy sector on sustainability. We constantly assess our processes to see where we can improve, and step by step, we are improving packaging sustainability across our product range.”
Wright continues: “We’re proud to be the first in Northern Ireland to replace all coloured caps with clear caps on our Dale Farm branded milk bottles as well as those we produce for our retail partners. It’s a small change that, in the long term, will have a positive impact on the environment.”
Shoppers will still be able to easily distinguish between different types of milk as the same colour-coded labels will remain on all milk bottles.
Dale Farm also operates its own 37-acre 5MW solar farm at its cheese processing facility at Dunmanbridge in County Tyrone. Supplying around 20% of the plant’s energy consumption, the farm is saving 2,460 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.