Tesco switches to clear caps on 425 million milk bottles


Milk bottle caps Tesco

Tesco says its switching to clear milk bottle caps on around 425 million units every year to make it easier to recycle its own brand milk bottles.

By removing coloured plastic and changing blue, red and green milk caps to a clear alternative, Tesco says it is improving the quality of recovered material from household waste and enabling the cap to be recycled back into milk bottles.

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

Tesco says customers will soon see the change across its own brand milk bottles and will work with suppliers to make the products easier to recycle.

Customer feedback on our trial of these new clear milk caps has been overwhelmingly positive.

The supermarket is encouraging customers to squash empty bottles before putting the original lid back onto the bottle before recycling to ensure it is not lost or discarded.

Coloured plastic currently needs to be processed separately from clear packaging. Tesco says changing to clear plastic milk bottle lids means 3,900 extra tonnes of recycled plastic can go back into making new bottles each year and the recycling process can be repeated every time a customer recycles a bottle.

James Waddy, Category Director for Dairy, commented: “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.”

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Earlier this month (August), the supermarket announced its trialling fresh mince “pillow packs”, which Tesco says use 70% less plastic and are recyclable at in-store soft plastic collection points.

Tesco has also begun recycling used plastic food trays back into packaging in what it calls an “industry first” this year (2023). The supermarket says the process creates a fully circular packaging solution for its range of core chilled ready meals.

The supermarket has also said it “strongly encourages” the UK government to accelerate the timetable for delivering consistent kerbside collections and recycling infrastructure.

In Tesco’s Packaging Report 2023, the supermarket commented on plans for consistent collections and deposit return schemes (DRS) across the UK and said it is ready to play an “active part” in helping make recycling simple and easy for customers.

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