Lifting the lid on recycling: Fonterra and Woolworths team up for a greener future


In a world where sustainability is king, every little change counts. That's why Fonterra Australia and Woolworths have joined forces to tackle an issue that may seem small but has a big impact on our environment: the humble milk bottle lid.

By making a simple switch from coloured to clear lids on Woolworths’ own brand milk bottles, Woolworths expects that up to 290,000kg of plastic from millions of milk bottles sold across Australia will now be more effectively recycled each year – including those from Fonterra’s Cobden site in Victoria.

The trial of this lid-lifting initiative began in Victoria in November, with Fonterra the first of Woolworths’ fresh milk partners to implement the change. Woolworths plans to roll out the new lids across all its stores around Australia by early next year.

Fonterra Australia’s Sustainability Packaging Manager, Jenny Phillips, says that a lot of people don’t realise that the coloured lids are separated from the clear bottle during recycling, and when the coloured resin is ejected from the recycling process valuable clear resin is also lost.

“Clear plastic leads to greater material recovery and better quality recyclate, allowing the lids to be turned back into either clear or coloured plastic, which means it can be used to make a new milk bottle.

“By changing the lids for the milk we produce at Cobden we’re making it easier for consumers in Victoria to contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy, and streamlining production from a palette of five different coloured lids to a single clear lid also helps reduce waste during the production changeover process at our Cobden site.

“It's a small change with colossal consequences, proving that even the tiniest tweaks can make a world of difference.”

jenny phillips, Fonterra Australia’s Sustainability Packaging Manager

“This is just one of the projects we have underway to make our own packaging more sustainable and also reduce what we use across our supply chain,” says Jenny.

It's a small change with colossal consequences, proving that even the tiniest tweaks can make a world of difference. So, next time you reach for that bottle of Woolworths milk, you'll be contributing to a greener, more eco-conscious world.