Multi-million pound move sees Muller reduce use of plastic in milk packaging

Müller is to drive down plastic use by acquiring milk packaging capabilities
Müller is to drive down plastic use by acquiring milk packaging capabilities

Muller, Britain’s biggest producer of fresh milk, has confirmed its intention to acquire the capability to manufacture its own fresh milk packaging in the UK to reduce use of plastic.

The multi-million pound move will give the business the means to reduce use of plastic and increase the use of recycled plastic in its bottles to its target of 50% by 2020.

Müller said it will also use its newly acquired assets to pursue innovative new packaging solutions, working in partnership with its customers.

Acquisitions of bottle manufacturing plants owned by Nampak adjacent to Müller’s dairies at Bellshill and Manchester have already concluded.

Müller is now in advanced negotiations to purchase Nampak’s bottle manufacturing assets adjacent to its Foston and Severnside dairies with a view to completion of these transactions in October 2018 and Autumn 2019 respectively, when current supply contracts expire.

On completion, the Severnside bottle manufacturing plant will then receive "substantial investment" from Müller to ensure that it has state of the art capabilities.

Jobs are not impacted by these moves, with affected employees able to transfer across to Müller.

Plastic use

Andrew McInnes, Müller Milk & Ingredients Managing Director said the company is "clear" about the need to drive down the use of plastic.

Mr McInnes said it has worked with suppliers to remove 10,000 tonnes from milk bottles since 2016.

“We are also actively increasing the use of recycled plastic and seeking significantly higher levels of sustainable packaging innovation,” he explained.

“With these acquisitions we are changing our operating model to gain greater control and agility to ensure that our packaging is fit-for-purpose, recyclable and evolving to meet rapidly changing customer and consumer needs.

“Ownership of packaging assets immediately adjacent to our dairies gives us a significant advantage in our sector. Rather than being reliant on third party manufacturers or having to purchase and transport empty packaging from remote manufacturing facilities to our dairies, we will have the ability to make milk bottles in our own plants to our specification and pass them straight to our filling lines.”