Ocado, Co-op and Aldi to track milk bottle recycling rates

Ocado Retail, Co-op and Aldi are trialling a new method of tracking the amount of milk and water bottles being recycled across the UK.

The trials use invisible UV tags, allowing the retailers to trace materials in the supply chain more extensively. Ocado and Co-op have already begun working with recycling tech pioneer Polytag, while Aldi’s partnership begins in July.

Working closely with sustainable waste management company Biffa, the tags – which appear on Co-op’s water bottles and Aldi and Ocado’s milk bottles – will send data to its Teeside material recycling facility using scannable QR codes.

The retailers will then be able to track each item’s journey through the process and access packaging lifecycle data insights, such as where, when and how much packaging has been recycled, helping them optimise sustainability strategies.

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“Leading retailers in the UK are awake to the fact that the only way we will truly tackle the waste problem in this country is by using data,” Polytag CEO Alice Rackley said when announcing Aldi’s trial.

“Gaining access to real-time packaging lifecycle information will be a game-changer, enabling retailers to develop a greater understanding of their products’ journey and make meaningful progress towards their sustainability pledges.”

Biffa will also be able to capture real-time data on packaging composition directly through its processing operations, informing recycling strategy, investment in sorting, recovery equipment and the onward tracking of materials.

The businesses joined forces as part of recycling charity RECOUP’s 26-week long ‘Bottle to Bottle’ project, working in conjunction with label printer Interket UK, the UK’s largest dairy co-operative Arla Foods and Müller Milk & Ingredients.

Aldi and Co-op have recently taken other green steps, including taking part in a whole-town trial of a digital deposit return scheme taking place throughout July 2023 in Brecon, Wales

Materials and packagingNews

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