The United Kingdom's largest dairy company is about to replace its final glass bottles with plastic.
Dairy Crest plc said it will close its glass bottling dairy in Hanworth, England, following a strategic review which acknowledged that consumers prefer to buy fresh milk in plastic containers.
The dairy giant, which owns the Country Life milk brand, said it had reviewed its residential delivery service and the closure was “necessary to protect the long term future” of the business.
The Hanworth plant would continue to operate for two more years but the company had wanted to give the 200 workers at the facility “clarity over the dairy's future”, it added.
“We want to reassure the company's 1,400 milkmen and women that Dairy Crest is doing all it can to help them retain their livelihoods as consumers increasingly prefer to buy fresh milk in plastics bottles rather than glass ones,” the group said in a statement.
The company, based in Esher, England, began using lightweight Infini high density polyethylene bottles from Nampak Plastics in 2012.
Dairy Crest said the proportion of milk put into glass bottles had fallen from 94% in 1975 to 4% in 2012.
Plastic milk bottles were popular with the public, lighter and increasingly made from recycled material, it argued.
Dairy Crest said production at its three plastic bottling dairies in Chadwell Heath, Foston and Severnside would be stepped up to meet demand from residential customers and that once the Hanworth plant had closed the firm's milkmen and women would deliver milk in plastic bottles only.