What is the single most used piece of product packaging in the UK? Answer: The humble plastic milk bottle.
But did you know that one factory in Milton Keynes produces a quarter of the country’s bottles?
At over a million bottles a day, Nampak, based in Milton Keynes, may have produced the plastic milk bottle in your fridge right now.
Or if you prefer a Frujji milkshake then it is almost certain to have come from down the road too, as Nampak’s MK plant is the sole UK manufacturer of its uniquely shaped packaging.
“It is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation,” says managing director Eric Collins, and yes, that means milk cartons are whizzing along on weekends, bank holidays and even whilst you tuck into your turkey on Christmas Day.
The MK plant employs around 125 people from the local area and has been operational for 25 years with numerous awards for innovation on its walls.
“We pride ourselves on innovation, over the last two years we have made two significant advances in this area.
“The first is to introduce post consumer recycled waste with a 20% recycled inclusion rate on all our milk bottle products.”
The milkbottle you place into the recycle bin is collected, cleaned and Nampak buys this back from a supplier to reintroduce back into production.
A raw bottle starts life as small Polymer granules, partially from this recycled material, which is then heated and moulded into a milk bottle shape.
It is trimmed to correct size, quality checked and packaged before being shipped to a dairy and filled with milk.
Eric added: “Our second major advance is to make the plastic bottle more lightweight, there is a big demand from the consumer to reduce impact on the environment.
“Nampak created the worlds lightest milk bottle but still with the same strength, its called Infini Brand.
“We have invested a lot in employee engagement, culture change so they feel involved and ultimately produce a good quality product which our customers see day in, day out.”