Abel & Cole ‘proud to choose plastic’ for milk refill scheme 

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Organic food delivery operator Abel & Cole says it is “proud to choose plastic” as the packaging choice for its Club Zero organic milk refill service. 

The company says the decision to opt for plastic follows a three-year research programme and real-world experiments. 

Hugo Lynch, Abel & Cole’s sustainability lead, commented: “When it comes to packaging materials, plastic is often seen as the enemy. But we challenged ourselves to ask if it was better to use glass, which is heavier and more energy-intensive to make, or to go against the grain.

“Our breakthrough plastic bottle innovation – the first of its kind in the UK – will cut the carbon footprint of our single-use milk bottles in half after just four returns compared to heavier glass bottles, which would take over 15 returns to reach similar emissions savings.

Under the Club Zero scheme, organic milk is bottled in PP reusable plastic bottles at Berkley Farm Dairy and delivered to customers as part of customers’ weekly Abel & Cole shop. Customers are asked to rinse out the bottles and put the cap back on, and leave the bottle inside the empty cardboard veg box, ready for collection. When they arrive back at the dairy, the bottles are inspected and then refilled for their next customer delivery. 

Asked by Natural Newsdesk how many times Abel & Cole’s bottles could be used, and how that might compare with specialist milk delivery service using glass bottles, a spokesperson said: “Our Club Zero Refillable Milk bottles can be reused up to 16 times. The great thing about this move is that the bottles will cut the carbon footprint of our single-use milk bottles in half after just four returns. When we look at glass bottles, it would take 15 reuses to reach that same emissions saving. With our existing glass refill products, we are able to achieve an average of three reuses. We appreciate this might not be the same for other business who, for example, make local milk deliveries using glass. But at our scale and in all of our testing and modelling, refillable plastic was the best material for the job for our Club Zero Refillable Milk bottle.”

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