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HomePET Knowledge BaseSwiss Milk Bottles to Undergo Closed-Loop Recycling System Henceforth

Swiss Milk Bottles to Undergo Closed-Loop Recycling System Henceforth

2024-02-04

The Swiss dairy sector is making a shift from polyethylene (PE) to PET for its bottles. PET-packaged milk products have been around since the summer of 2023. Before that, these bottles needed to be returned with the plastic bottle collection. Now, there's a new rule: PET milk bottles with the blue and yellow PET Recycling Switzerland logo can be returned in the designated PET collection, getting recycled in a closed-loop system. During this transition, consumers are reminded to check recycling instructions on milk bottles – only correctly disposed bottles can go into the Swiss PET recycling system.

 

Traditionally, milk and related products like cream and milk-based drinks were mostly stored in polyethylene bottles. Despite offering great protection for these sensitive dairy items, PE bottles face a drawback – they can't be recycled in a closed-loop system. In a bid to support a circular economy, the Swiss dairy industry is making a switch to PET for milk bottles. Among plastic food packaging, PET beverage bottles stand out as the sole packaging that can be recycled in a closed-loop system.

 

For top-notch PET recycling of milk bottles, specific criteria need to be met. PET beverage bottles must adhere to the current recycling guidelines ("Design for Recycling"). Moreover, funding for collection and processing should come from an upfront recycling fee integrated into the selling price. Milk product producers meeting these criteria can now feature the blue and yellow PET Recycling Switzerland logo on their products. Bottles labeled with this logo, containing milk products, should now be placed in the designated PET collection. Other plastic bottles can still be placed in the general plastic bottle collection.

 

Recycling PET beverage bottles with milk products poses technical challenges. Presently, operators of sorting and recycling plants are making substantial investments in the required facilities and processes. These investments pave the way for recycling PET milk bottles within a closed-loop system post-transition. With sorting and processing of PET beverage bottles taking place entirely in Switzerland, transport distances can be minimized compared to the existing PE collection, offering extra environmental advantages.

 

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, the Swiss dairy industry's shift from polyethylene to PET for milk bottles signifies a significant move towards a more sustainable and circular approach. By adhering to strict recycling guidelines and financing the collection and processing through an upfront fee, producers are contributing to a closed-loop system. The technical investments made in sorting and recycling facilities demonstrate a commitment to overcoming challenges and ensuring the successful recycling of PET milk bottles. This transition not only addresses environmental concerns but also brings about additional benefits, such as reduced transport distances within Switzerland. As the dairy industry embraces these changes, it sets a positive precedent for fostering sustainability and responsible packaging practices.

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