The cardboard milk bottle that could curb growth of landfill sites

A A A

A milk bottle made out of cardboard could solve one of the small nuisances of modern life and prevent thousands of tons of plastic from being dumped in landfill every year.

Few of the bulky two and four-litre plastic bottles of milk found in modern kitchens are recycled; 93 per cent are thrown out with the household rubbish.

Now a British inventor has developed an alternative - a recycled cardboard bottle called the Greenbottle. A biodegradable bag inside the cardboard contains the milk and ensures the bottle does not go soggy.

Once the milk has been drunk, the cardboard can be put out for recycling along with newspapers and magazines (providing the council accepts cardboard).

Martin Myerscough, the bottle's inventor from Framlingham, Suffolk, has been developing the product for the past 18 months after coming up the idea in the pub. He has now reached agreement with Asda, which has been trialling the bottles at a Lowestoft store, for the same price as conventional bottles.

Although the cardboard bottles cost about 30 per cent more to produce than plastic bottles, Mr Myerscough believes the price will even out when they get to higher production runs. If the bottles prove popular, Asda could roll them out nationwide in an attempt to cut the three-million tons of plastic that is thrown away in the UK annually.

More than 100,000 tons of that plastic comes from milk bottles; equivalent to the weight of 260 jumbo jets. They take 500 years to decompose. Laminated milk cartons are also frequently thrown away and are made from trees rather than recycled materials.

Mr Myerscough, who has applied for a patent, said: "It's always bothered me that consumers have had to buy milk in plastic bottles that are difficult to recycle. The new design ensures that the packaging protects the milk and yet can easily be recycled easing the pressure on landfill, which is becoming limited and expensive. Plastic milk bottles could become a thing of the past."

The entrepreneur came up with the idea while talking to an employee from the local waste dump in a pub a year ago. "I asked him what the tip was full of and he said: 'Plastic bottles. People drink the milk and throw them away. The tip is full of fresh air'."

With a background in mechanical engineering, Mr Myerscough decided to tackle the problem and found ready backing at the local dairy, Marybelle, which supplies Asda.

James Strachan, Marybell's executive director, believed that local milk in a recyclable bottle would be popular with customers.

"I don't think it will be long before we're only using Greenbottles nationwide," he said.

Asda, which intends to reduce packaging by 25 per cent, also considers the product attractive.

"Greenbottle delivers a win-win for supermarkets and consumers in our collective effort to reduce the environmental footprint," said Chris Brown, Asda's head of sourcing.

* Waitrose is to stop handing out free plastic bags at its shop in Saffron Walden, Essex, for the next two weeks. Instead, customers will be asked to reuse old carriers and shopping bags.

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there