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Making moo-ves on plastic

Yeo Valley Organic is closing the loop on packaging
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Yeo Valley Organic Milk bottles now have clear caps

This article first appeared in our Earth Day issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published 22 April 2024. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

From 2022 to 2023, the total weight of household waste in England decreased to 21.3 million tonnes – down 6.6% from 22.8 million tonnes 12 months earlier.

The theme for Earth Day 2024 is all about ending our use of plastics, and Yeo Valley Organic is working to close the loop on its packaging by making changes that reflect its sustainability values.

As a member of The UK Plastics Pact, Yeo Valley Organic has made good progress on its journey to making sure all of its plastic packaging is fully recyclable and made from recycled plastic.

Embracing clear lids

Last summer, Yeo Valley Organic changed the blue and green lids on its milk bottles to slightly less colourful alternatives.

The milk bottle lids are now 100% recyclable and made from at least 30% recycled material.

Without the coloured dye these new clear lids can be reused for food-grade packaging when they have been recycled. It’s a small change that will make a big difference.

Goodbye single-use plastic lids

After successful trials in 2021, Yeo Valley Organic began removing single-use plastic clip lids from its 350g and 450g yoghurt tubs.

Removing single-use plastics such as the clip lid means avoiding 145 tonnes of plastic a year – that’s the equivalent weight of 188 Friesian cows, 24 African elephants – or 17 tractors.

A first for recycled plastic

Back in 2020, Yeo Valley Organic started changing its yoghurt pots to alternatives made from 100% recycled plastic. You might have noticed that these pots seem a little wobbly; that’s because the plastic content is lower than it used to be.

Making lids from 100% recycled plastic isn’t easy but it is the right thing to do.

Sadly, the amount of waste households sent to recycling 2022-2023 decreased to 9.2 million tonnes, down 8.3% from the previous year.

LID-FREE STORAGE TIPS

If you’re worried about keeping your yoghurt fresh without the plastic lid, try these storage tips:

Skip the cling film and use a reusable alternative – beeswax wraps can be moulded to different sizes.

Decant your yoghurt into a spare Tupperware container. Make sure the lid is tightly sealed.

Store yoghurt at the back of the fridge, where it’s colder. Make sure the temperature is set to 4°C or below.

Getting creative with packaging

It’s not just the yoghurt that’s making a stir; Yeo Valley Organic’s new milk cartons are made from renewable, plant-based materials, and use 70% less plastic than the previous bottles.

The new 1l cartons are made solely from materials that can naturally renew themselves, which has slashed the carbon footprint of Yeo Valley Organic’s packaging by more than half.

No packaging is perfect, but technology is advancing all the time. Yeo Valley Organic likes to experiment with multiple formats to see what works for its customers – and also what’s realistic when it comes to the UK’s recycling capability.

Over the coming years the dairy company will be making further changes to its packaging to ensure it reflects the sustainability values that underpin this family business.

CUT YOUR PLASTICS FOOTPRINT

Follow these easy tips to reduce your single-use plastic waste:

  • Recycle whenever you can
  • Carry a reusable bottle
  • Invest in a reusable coffee cup
  • Try not to use disposable plastic cutlery
  • Carry reusable shopping bags
  • Ditch cling film and use alternatives like beeswax wraps

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