Why Danish milk cartons now carry three helpful words

Three words have been added to Danish milk cartons in an effort to help consumers to cut waste.

Why Danish milk cartons now carry three helpful words
File photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Danish dairy giant Arla aims to reduce the amount of milk that ends of poured down drains with a printed message to consumers on its packaging, DR reports.

Next to the 'best before' date on cartons, the words ‘often good after’ (ofte god efter) have been placed, letting milk drinkers know that it’s okay for them to judge themselves whether the product is still usable.

Selina Juul, founder of NGO Stop Wasting Food, welcomed the move by Arla.

“This is definitely a step in the right direction, because we know that doubts about use by dates can cause food waste. Now I’m looking forward to seeing how this is received by consumers,” Juul told DR.

“The milk carton is a good start, but I’d encourage Arla and all other food producers to change the wording on the vast majority of their products. Yoghurt should be the next step,” she added.

Date markings on European food products generally use the terms ‘best before’ and ‘use by’.

‘Best before’ is intended to inform customers that they can make their own judgement on whether products can still be used after the specified date, but studies have found that 50 percent of people were not aware of the difference between the two wordings.

That causes up to 10 percent of Europe’s total food waste, according to an EU Parliament study.

Other Danish brands to have already changed date marking on products include Carlsberg, Løgismose, Meyers, Thise and Toms, DR writes.

READ ALSO: Danish organisation aims to reduce food waste with new 'best before' system

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Danish company to scrap plastic caps from millions of organic milk cartons

Dairy giant Arla is to stop using plastic screw tops on its one-litre organic milk cartons.

Danish company to scrap plastic caps from millions of organic milk cartons
Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The decision by the company is part of an effort to reduce CO2 emissions, it said in a statement.

Much of Arla’s packaging – including the one-litre organic milk cartons – is already produced from renewable materials such as plants and trees.

By dropping the plastic caps, the company says it can reduce the CO2 footprint of each carton by 30 percent.

Consumers buy 74 million cartons a year of the product from which the plastic packaging component is set to be removed. Each individual plastic cap is responsible for emissions of 10 grams of CO2, according to Arla.

As such the emissions saving on the caps could reach 740 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. The figures are based on emissions measured during the period October 2019 to September 2020.

Arla has previously declared its ambition to achieve CO2-neutral operations by 2050.

READ ALSO: Danish dairy giant wants CO2-neutral milk production by 2050

“We and our farmers have an ambitious target of becoming CO2 neutral, and we are reducing are emissions on an ongoing basis,” Arla Denmark country director Helle Müller Petersen said in the statement.

“Part of that work is to reduce the CO2 emissions from our packaging, for example by reducing the use of plastic,” Petersen added.

“It’s therefore an active choice for us to remove the screw top from the organic milk,” she said.