logo

Light-weight, light-proof milk bottles provide top drop

By: Kate Tilley

January 2, 2014

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — There’s lots of crying over spilt milk at Pact Group Pty. Ltd., which designs, manufactures and supplies plastic packaging products.

So that’s why Pact’s design division, Melbourne-based Inpact Innovation Pty. Ltd., has developed two products that will mean more drinking and less spilling of the white liquid.

Pact’s general manager of sales, marketing and innovation Siobhan McCrory said its Infini-branded bottle is the lightest milk bottle in the Australian and New Zealand market. It is 22 percent lighter than comparable bottles, but still made of strong high density polyethylene resin. It is durable and recyclable.

Pact’s Light Proof-brand bottle is a triple-layer HDPE product that protects milk from sunlight and supermarket refrigerator lights. Light drains milk of vitamins and other nutrients, but McCrory said taste tests reveal significant preservation of milk quality in the new bottles.

Auckland, New Zealand-based global dairy giant Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd. introduced the 100 percent light-proof bottle in NZ in April and lifted its milk sales by 2.5 percent this year.

Inpact Innovation, which launched three years ago, is working with major dairy industry players in Australia and NZ to have the award-winning bottles on supermarket shelves by early 2014.

The Infini bottles won a United Kingdom dairy industry innovation award in 2012.

McCrory said Pact has the “tools” in place to start production in Australia.

The average Aussie drinks 28 gallons (106 liters) of milk a year.

Pact’s half-gallon and three-quarter-gallon Light Proof bottles have induction foil-sealed caps to keeps light out at the bottleneck and three light-protective resin layers in the body of the bottle. A black layer is sandwiched between two white layers to guarantee the contents are 100 percent shielded from light.

But three layers don’t mean three times the weight. The light-proof bottles are only 0.03 of an ounce heavier than regular plastic milk bottles.

The light-proof bottle was initially criticized because it is not recycled back into milk bottles. But Pact turns the used NZ bottles into plastic crates, bins, slip sheets, agricultural pipes and drainage coils.

McCrory said Infini aims to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible.

“If we replace our existing supply of all milk bottles in Australia with the new Infini range, we’ll use 581 tons less resin than we do at present. That’s the equivalent in weight to around 150 fully-grown elephants, or 14 million regular [half-gallon] milk bottles,” she said.

Inpact Innovation had also designed HDPE paint pails with easy peel and reseal lids, base grips for pouring and no gullies around the top of the pails. McCrory said the pails have efficient pallet configuration, reduced weight and increased stacking strength.

Pact’s designers recruit do-it-yourself volunteers, hardware outlets and professional tradesmen to give them ideas. McCrory said the new paint pails “ticked all their boxes” and should be available in Australia by early 2014.