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Christchurch glass bottling line closing

22 November 2005

New Zealand Dairy Foods announces closure of Christchurch glass bottling line

Leading New Zealand consumer dairy products company, New Zealand Dairy Foods Limited, today announced the closure of its Christchurch glass bottling line with effect from 30 November 2005.

Although production of milk in glass bottles will cease, the company continues to support customers who wish to have milk home delivered with the introduction of 2 new 600ml Tetra Top carton milk products - Meadow Fresh Homogenised and Meadow Fresh Trim. The new cartons are the same size and the same price as the previous glass bottled milk.

"For many of us who grew up with bottled milk this is the end of an era," NZDF Chief Executive Greg Cole said today. "However, the decline in consumption of milk in glass coupled with the age of the bottling plant mean it is no longer possible to keep manufacturing in today's environment."

Milk in glass bottles represents just 5.5% of the milk sold in the South Island and consumption in this format has been falling at around 18% per year. Production of milk in glass bottles ceased in most other parts of New Zealand some years ago. The Christchurch bottling plant was commissioned in 1969 and is the only one remaining in operation in New Zealand. The plant is at the end of it’s practical operating life after 36 years.

"We will continue to deliver milk to customers with product offerings the same size and same cost as the previous glass bottles. The only difference is the container," Greg Cole said. "We are also offering home gate customers the chance to try the new 600ml cartons free of charge to help them get used to the change."

The company noted that, although many people felt that glass bottles were more environmentally friendly than Tetra Top cartons the facts did not support this. Although glass bottles were reusable, there was a significant environmental cost in terms of water, chemicals, energy and effluent to sterilise them for re-use.

The majority of the Tetra Top cartons are made from a renewable resource – wood fibre, harvested from well managed sustainable forests and they are also recyclable. The company will be working with councils and recycling operators to help ensure the cartons are recycled.

ENDS


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