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Why doesn't Japan have milk in plastic bottles?

cloa513

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It supplies a decent amount of milk in shops. It has plastic bottles. The closest it has is a few lidded cartons- pretty restricted choice. So why not milk in plastic bottles for the convenience?
 

Toritoribe

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The Japan Dairy Industry Association answered to the question "Why isn't milk in plastic containers?".
 

TGI-ECT

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If you are willing to pay the price you can buy milk in glass containers.

I am puzzled about plastic being more convenient than what we see being used for packaging now?

I don't know what Toritoribe's source will inform me when I read that, but I am openly wondering if they might have decided that the packaging they use is more environmentally friendly than plastic. (Edit: I was wrong.)

You know, it's funny, but I can't remember how I used to buy it when I did live on the mainland of the United States. It has been too many years. But I remember when I was very young it came in glass bottles. Well, I think I remember that correctly. It was a fair number of years ago.

I remember when one had to have a can opener to drink beer from a can. None of that fancy tab thingy we can pull on now to open a beer. Oh yeah, I just remembered I have some old Coke bottles from years ago in Japan. Just stashed them away for saving for some museum some day. Or something.

Milk in plastic, eh? Might be neat to see that, but maybe not good for the environment. But let me go read what Toritoribe found.
 
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musicisgood

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I like milk in glass bottles. Plastic, not so much. But even the cartons might not be good. Years ago, I read something about the "white ink" used in cartons. It didn't sound too good, but here in Japan, its cartons.
I remember opening both beer and coke bottles with the opener.
 

Mansoor

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I think we should avoid packaging foods in the plastic containers, because man has not discovered the reactions of the numerous chemical and biological subsistence of the various foods with the molecules of the different plastics. I have not traveled to Japan to see which kind of things Japaneses use for keeping milk but I think stainless metals such as aluminum or some type of steels and also glass are the bests. The defect of the glass containers is that they are breakable and transporting, carrying or using them should be done carefully.
 

Glenski

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This article sounds like they are talking about storing foods in containers after they have been used for their original purposes. Keep that in mind.

Which Plastics Are Safe for Food Storage?

Some plastics can be recycled for water or food storage while others contain toxins not suitable for storage. Other containers may be difficult to disinfect, may allow evaporation or they may begin to collapse over a long period of time. However, in general, when determining which plastics can be reused, a good rule of thumb is that if the container originally stored food, it can be safely used for food again. Consider the following information.

• PET or PETE — This type of plastic, polyethylene terephthalate is listed as number 1 inside the recycling triangle diagram. PET plastic is clear, tough and has gas and moisture barrier properties. This plastic is commonly used for beverages such as soft drinks, juices and bottled water. It is also used for foods such as peanut butter, pickles and salad dressing. Keep in mind that there will always be a remaining scent in containers that originally stored food with strong odors.

• HDPE — High density polyethylene is the plastic commonly used for milk bottles, some juice containers and laundry products. It is shown as number 2 on the triangle code. These containers can be translucent or colored and are somewhat stiff and well-suited for packaging products with a short shelf life, such as milk. However, used milk jugs are not well suited as food storage containers. While the plastic is considered food grade, milk containers are difficult to sanitize properly, and the plastic will break down over time. Chlorine bleach containers hold up somewhat better, but if water is stored in these containers, it should be used for purposes other than drinking, such as for laundry or dishes. Avoid using plastic garbage bags or plastic grocery bags made from this plastic as food storage liners.
(more in that article, so keep reading it)

Meanwhile, there are other concerns. The SLATE website has this nice article which I will copy in part.
While plastic bottles can be melted down and made into new bottles, none of the milk containers in the United States are actually made from recycled material. That’s because of safety concerns over bacterial and chemical contamination, and strict FDA guidelines for the manufacture of food packaging from such second-hand sources. When it’s reclaimed, plastic from milk bottles is usually turned into toothbrushes, flower pots, and children’s toys, among other things. But according to the EPA, just 28.9 percent of it ends up in the recycling bin. The rest may spend hundreds of years decomposing in a landfill.

A second kind of milk container—the gable-top carton—is made from paperboard and coated with a layer of low-density polyethylene. (Glenski note: so you can now learn that it's not just paint and paper.) Like the plastic bottle, gable-top cartons are made from virgin materials. Recycled paper isn’t as strong as the stuff straight from the trees, so a recycled container capable of carrying that much milk would have to be much thicker, heavier, and more expensive.

Paperboard is made of trees, a renewable resource, which is good. And they’re only 1 ounce (25 percent) heavier than plastic bottles. But the environmental positives end there. Making paper is a resource-intensive process, requiring huge amounts of water, fossil fuels, and chemical bleaches.

Given its high costs and third-place environmental finish, you might wonder why the gable-top carton is still hanging around the dairy case. It’s probably because ultraviolet light, which can penetrate clear glass bottles (PDF) and HDPE (PDF), degrades vitamins A and D and riboflavin. That’s no small matter, considering between one-third and one-half of American adults are vitamin D deficient. (Glenski note: here's a disadvantage to glass that you probably have not thought of. Plastic prevents this better than glass.)
 

Glenski

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One economic consideration against aluminum cans for milk.

Another is simply that aluminum is just more expensive to use, and milk is not kept as long as soda or other products to warrant the cost. Also, aluminum comes from bauxite mines, not the most eco-friendly industry, and recycled aluminum cans are not all that common.

Also, realize that it's not bare aluminum inside that can. There is an epoxy coating.
Hidden plastic found INSIDE aluminium can after reaction with acid (THIS IS A COOL SHORT VIDEO!!)


Can coatings in general
 

Lothor

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I think we should avoid packaging foods in the plastic containers, because man has not discovered the reactions of the numerous chemical and biological subsistence of the various foods with the molecules of the different plastics. I have not traveled to Japan to see which kind of things Japaneses use for keeping milk but I think stainless metals such as aluminum or some type of steels and also glass are the bests. The defect of the glass containers is that they are breakable and transporting, carrying or using them should be done carefully.
Delivering milk in glass bottles and collecting them for reuse the next day has a very long tradition in my country (the UK) but this practice has largely died out with the consolidation of dairy farms into huge units and the rise of supermarkets.
 

Mansoor

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Delivering milk in glass bottles and collecting them for reuse the next day has a very long tradition in my country (the UK) but this practice has largely died out with the consolidation of dairy farms into huge units and the rise of supermarkets.

You are right. The nowadays high rate of food industries production in regard to the high population of the cities and countries has changed the traditional methods of sales in the markets, among milk in the weighty and damageable glass bottles. I remember, in the past decades the most of the British people in London or other large cities of England received two things in back of their doors every morning as a routine; a glass bottle of milk and a daily newsletter.

We hadn't such the service in Iran but when I was a teenager I usually bought a bottle of milk from the groceries everyday and drank, especially the bottle of milk with chocolate! I love it very much.
 
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