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Milky mache goodness

This milk is green but that’s not because it’s lime flavoured. As well as looking pretty dam cool, this “paper mache” milk bottle also has a sustainability twist. And soon the GreenBottle will be rolled out to supermarket shelves across the UK, starting this week in Cornwall. 

Suffolk-based Martin Mysercough came up with the papery idea after an encounter with local man who ran the local tip. When he was told plastic bottles, particularly the milk variety, were the biggest contributors to waste in tips, Mysercough got thinking. 

After finding pulping technology that could be used to make the outer carcass of the milk bottle, Mysercough just needed to find a way to make the bottles waterproof. The solution came quite simply. Put a plastic bag inside the bottle that consumers can easily remove once the milk has run out. The plastic bag, made of recycled plastic, can be disposed of normally, or ideally recycled where possible. And it only takes up 0.5 percent of the plastic bottle space. That just leaves the paper exterior which can be either put out for recycling or composted. Or, should you end up throwing the whole bottle out, the paper will eventually biodegrade, leaving only a small plastic residue. 

Mysercoug ended up securing an exclusive deal with British supermarket chain Asda who will begin the trial in Cornwall on 5 December. A pilot programme was carried out by Asda in 2007 in its Lowestoft branch. 

With regular plastic taking up to 500 years to decompose, Asda’s head of ethical and sustainable sourcing, Chris Brown, says the company is always looking for ways to improve on sustainability. 

“The milk category is obviously massive for us and if GreenBottle helps reduce waste in our customers’ homes, there’s no doubting it has the potential to become the next great British invention,” he says. 

Bu the feedback so far hasn’t all been positive, with some asking why another bottle is needed when there are already recyclable plastic and glass bottles on the market. But the equation becomes more complex when you factor in GreenBottle production uses only 30 percent of the energy used for standard milk bottle production. Plus, the CO2 emissions are abut 50 percent that of regular milk bottle designs.