State dairy industry backs PET bottles

State dairy industry backs PET bottles

PUNE: Maharashtra’s dairy industry has come out in support of packaging milk in PET bottles, calling it a more feasible option compared to milk packets. 

According to a press release, representatives of dairy companies have cited that it is difficult to wash and store milk pouches, besides collection and processing (cleaning and recycling) of milk packets that is costly. PET bottles, on the other hand, can be reused, resealed and is the most recyclable plastic globally.

Some of the biggest players that use PET bottles for fresh milk packaging are Maharashtra-based Pride of Cows and Happy Milks.

The rate of PET bottles recycling in India is higher in comparison to other packaging materials like tetra pack/brick cartons, as per industry experts. 

In an attempt to curtail the pollution caused by the packaging waste, the Maharashtra government implemented EPR guidelines and the dairy industry is expected to establish a mechanism to collect plastic milk pouches post usage.

“Establishing a post-usage collection mechanism is nearly impossible for plastic pouches considering consumers are needed to wash and store the plastic pouches at home, which is not feasible and rarely happens,” said Prakash Kutwal, Founder and Chairman of Kutwal Foods.

”Also, it is not economically viable to collect the pouches once they are dumped. On the other hand, packaging of milk in PET bottles will ensure higher collection and recycling rate, since these bottles attract a higher recycling cost and is the key source of income for ragpickers,” said Kutwal. 

Vishnu Hinge, Chairman of Pune District Milk Producers Federation said, “While plastic pouches are recyclable, but not everything which is recyclable actually gets recycled. It is not possible for the industry to establish a buyback/recycling mechanism for milk pouches.

He also stated that PET bottles fit the alternatives compared to other packaging materials like tetrapack or glass bottles.”

The Milk Producers and Processors Welfare Association recently held a meeting of industry representatives where the aforementioned fears were expressed. 

Some of them said instead of PET, buy-back of milk packets is a good option.

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