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Milk & More to increase reuse of bottles by 15% as glass prices soar

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The UK’s biggest doorstep milk delivery service, Milk & More, is aiming to use 500,000 fewer bottles a year by tweaking its systems so that each one can be reused 15% more, as glass prices soar.The milk float operator is working with its supplier to source more durable bottles and has adjusted its machinery to reduce contact between the bottles and the side of the filling lines to reduce damage.It is also installing scanners that can identify bottles reaching the end of their life – when tiny cracks in the surface render them cloudy – so that these can be pulled out individually rather than bottles being replaced en masse after a set period of time.Patrick Müller, the chief executive, said Milk & More, which sells more than a million litres of dairy and dairy alternative milks a week, was also urging customers to return more bottles to ensure they could be reused.The changes come as the cost of glass bottles have more than doubled in recent years, with availability restricted amid a soaring global demand from manufacturers driven by consumers’ desire to avoid plastic and a return to normal trading as pandemic restrictions have unwound.While the UK’s glassmaking industry has said there is no shortage of bottles in Britain, makers across Europe are finding it tough to keep pace with demand, having scaled back production in the past when many drinks makers switched to lighter and cheaper plastic.The rise in glass prices comes on top of a 72% increase in the price of milk, while renewable electricity, used to power 40% of the group’s fleet or 500 vehicles, has tripled in price.Müller said customer numbers were holding steady at about 350,000, although that is down on the height of the coronavirus pandemic when figures hit

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