MILK BAGS A BIG BOOST FOR PACKAGING REDUCTION
Packaging milk in plastic bags is something that Canadian consumers have taken for granted for decades, but it is causing quite a sensation in the United Kingdom, with the country’s leading grocery chain Sainsbury’s becoming the first British-based retailer to relaunch its full range of milk in low-density polyethylene bags.
Launched a few months ago as part of its drive to reduce the packaging handled at its stores by a third by 2015, bagged semi-skimmed milk has become a runaway bestseller for Sainsbury’s—now selling an estimated 120,000 bags of semi-skimmed milk bags per week—prompting it to start selling bagged whole milk at about 100 stores this past summer.
“We’ve been blown away by the positive response,” says Sainsbury’s senior dairy buyer Emma Metcalf King.
“Sales are so good we are now investing in new processing plant to keep up with demand.”
By offering milk bags for its skimmed and one-percent-fat milk startin
g next June, Sainsbury’s expects to save up 1,400,000 kilograms of packaging per year, according to Metcalf King, who notes that more than 60 per cent of consumers in Canada, China, South Africa and Poland purchase their milk in plastic bags.
The retailer and its milk supplier Dairy Crest are investing about $5 million in a new processing plant in
Gloucestershire—creating 20 new jobs—to extend the use of these bags, containing 75 per cent less packaging than plastic bottles.
“Rather than being wary of new packaging, customers have lapped up the bags, so we are expanding the milk bag range to all varieties,” says Metcalf King.
Since April, Sainsbury’s has given away an estimated half-million reusable JUGIT plastic jugs for holding the milk bags upright to promote the packaging switch, according to Metcalf King, and is now selling an estimated 4,000 jugs—outfitted with a built-in bag-piercing spike that forms a leakproof seal—per week.
DELL’S SUSTAINABILITY DRIVE HITS FULL SPEED
Computer giant Dell Inc. says it has eliminated the use of more than 18.2 million pounds of packaging material since 2008—an equivalent weight of 226 fully-loaded 18-wheelers or almost 4,184 small pick-up trucks—while increasing the amount of recycled content in its packaging to 32 per cent.