Bottle tops have changed colour
Shoppers are noticing a subtle change to a familiar grocery product, writes JULENA DRUMI
As creatures of habit it’s usually the little things that disturb us the most, such as a re-scheduling of a favourite radio programme or the bus timetable. Or maybe a visible change to a familiar product that no longer looks so familiar. Such as the replacement of coloured milk container tops with white ones.
It seems the nation has gone gaga over this subtle and soon-to-be universal adoption of the white-topped plastic bottle, with complaints from shoppers that by replacing blue, green and red tops they can no longer tell whether the milk is whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed.
So why the change?
It has been creeping in since the turn of the year after Waitrose announced last June that it would replace the coloured caps with white ones on its own-brand milk as they can be more easily recycled into food-grade packaging.
Lidl followed in October by saying it would replace its green caps with white ones. A month later, Co-op announced it would also be dropping coloured bottle tops, saying this will avoid more than 150 tonnes of coloured plastic per year contaminating the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) stream, one of the easiest plastic polymers to recycle.
Müller Milk & Ingredients has begun switching its coloured milk bottle caps to clear, and aims to convert its whole range by the summer.
The firm, which buys a fifth of milk produced on Britain’s farms, carried out surveys which found eight out of ten shoppers would choose clear milk capped bottles over a coloured one if it could improve its recyclability.
So what about the problem of identifying which milk is which? Supermarkets are getting around this problem by using colour-coded labels.