[GRRN] (1) Milk Jugs, (2) Plastic Beer Bottles (3) Wet Strength Plastic Bags

From: RecycleWorlds (anderson@msn.fullfeed.com)
Date: Wed Oct 04 2000 - 11:08:42 EDT

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    According to the October 2000 issue of Modern Plastics:

        (1) MILK JUGS. One of the major concerns for reclaimers in the last two years has
    been the attempt by a few dairies to make a push for market share gains with yellow
    pigmented milk jugs by asserting -- although the field data is very ambiguous -- that
    pigmented bottles protect the milk from light damage to flavor and vitamins. (To review
    our report documenting the new costs that this would impose on recyclers, see
    www.plasticredesign.org.) The current issue of Modern Plastics has an article on
    innovations in milk jug packaging ("Novel milk bottle designs keep blow molders on top")
    which may indicate that this threat has abated.

        First it notes that the commodity nature of milk in general, combined with the fact
    that market analysts have observed that milk buyers have not shown themselves willing to
    pay more for milk in a new package, has generally limited package innovations for this
    product to those without significant cost impacts on the price of the package. Some of
    the designs meeting this criteria are those which have made the handle larger to
    accommodate four instead of three fingers, and moving the spout to the side (from the
    middle) of the bottle to minimize spilling.

        Second, the other major change it focuses on is the growing use of clear PET bottles
    which, apparently because it resembles old-time glass bottles, has attracted consumers
    (clear, of course, is directly opposite to the thrust of yellow because it keeps out less
    light than cloudy HDPE milk bottles).

        Third, in Europe, there is growing use of returnable, reusable polycarbonate milk
    bottles, which can be refilled up to 50 times.

        (2) PLASTIC BEER BOTTLES. Another acticle ("Eastern Eupose has big thirst for PET
    bottles, says study") indicates that a PCI study found that Eastern Europe, especially
    Russia, is using more PET, with the biggest boost fro beer in 1.5-L PET bottles, with
    plans for a smaller 0.5-L PET bottle coming. This surprises me because my sources
    indicate that the Continental PET Technologies plastic beer bottle, for example, costs
    25-30% more than glass even in volume orders, and I had assumed -- apparently
    incorrectly -- that poorer regions like Eastern Europe would be more cost sensitive than
    the U.S. and EU. Price sensitivity is one, along with the need to refine technology for
    upgrading PET for beer pasteurization, has been among the major impediments to the roll
    out of these bottles.

        (3) WET STRENGTH PAPER BAGS. It seems ("Blown film makes inforads versus paper")
    that the process for making blown film into bags has been improved to substitute for wet
    strength paper bags used for things like fast food french fries and hamburgers that can be
    (a) shaped with square bottom and crease retention so that it stands up like paper bags
    and (b) the cost is less than for paper bags.


    Peter Anderson
    RecycleWorlds Consulting
    4513 Vernon Blvd. Ste. 15
    Madison, WI 53705-4964
    Phone:(608) 231-1100/Fax: (608) 233-0011

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