Norwich and Lowestoft customers give thumbs up to milk bottles

Milk-lovers in Norwich and Lowestoft may have paved the way for a national recycling revolution.

Since 2007 about 15,000 of the country's first ever paper milk bottles, called GreenBottles, have been snapped up from the shelves of Asda stores in Norwich and Lowestoft.

The two stores were chosen as pilots by Suffolk-based GreenBottle which distributes the two-litre bottles, which have sturdy paper shells, to Asda.

The bottles can be composted in a few weeks while plastic ones take up to 500 years to decompose if they end up in landfill sites.

Because of what GreenBottle describes as the overwhelming success of the trial period, the bottles are due to be rolled out across other parts of the country, with Asda stores in Cornwall due to start selling them on Saturday.

The bottles, which have a small strip of easily removable recyclable plastic as a liner, have been sold in Lowestoft's Asda on Horn Hill, from May 2007 to last November.

They have also been on sale at the store on Drayton High Road, Norwich, since April.

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Milk for the bottles comes from the Marybelle Dairy near Halesworth.

As well as 15,000 bottles being sold, GreenBottle is impressed that 90pc of all mothers who purchased them said they would buy another one again.

An overall customer survey showed 82pc would buy another bottle.

The managing director of Framlingham-based GreenBottle, Andy Brent, said: 'The trial has been an overwhelming success.

'Because of the Lowestoft and Norwich stores stocking them, we have proved our bottles are just as flexible, robust and popular as plastic milk bottles.

'Due to the trials we have been able to develop the bottles and the possibilities are endless. We could produce 300 million a year.'

Simon Mueller, the manager of Lowestoft's Asda, said: 'The GreenBottle has been popular with our customers in Lowestoft and I was pleased with how it did. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next with the project.'

Dave Lennox at the Norwich store said: 'Sales of GreenBottle have been positive. Customers have been excited about being able to find a greener way to buy their milk. I hope it goes on to do as well at other Asda stores.'

The GreenBottle was invented in 2006 by Martin Myerscough and as well as Norwich and Lowestoft they are being sold in East Anglia at Woodbridge and Manningtree.

It is estimated that 15 million plastic milk bottles are used a day in Britain with 130,000 tonnes of them going straight to landfill.

Chris Brown, Asda's head of ethical and sustainable sourcing, said: 'If GreenBottle helps reduce waste in customers' homes there is no doubting it has the potential to become the next great British invention.'