The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy released several reports in conjunction with the 2010 International Dairy Show held last month in Dallas. One,Leading the Way to a Sustainable U.S. Dairy Industry, comprises the results from a carbon footprint study that measured the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with a gallon of milk throughout the supply chain in the United States that includes the packaging component.

The packaging-related highlights:
  • GHG emissions associated with fluid milk packaging occur during raw material production, container formation and transport of raw materials.
  • 1.9 million of the 28 million metric tons of GHG to produce fluid milk in the U.S. are attributed to the container
  • 35% of the GHG emissions from fluid milk production come from container formation
  • 65% is attributed to the packaging material production
  • The 395 fluid milk plants in the U.S. responsible for pasteurization and packaging of fluid milk produce more than 50 billion pounds of fluid milk products and about 5.1 million metric tons of GHG emissions each year.
The goal is to reduce of the carbon footprint 25% by 2020. The data suggests this can be reduced in the packaging portion by:

1. Energy efficiencies and the use of renewable energy in raw material manufacturing, including energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, can reduce total energy used in material production.

2. Energy efficiencies in the blow molding and container-forming process can lower emissions and costs at the processing facility.

"Sustainability has become a new way of living and a new standard for managing how we do business," says Connie Tipton, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association. "The study is helping dairy businesses to see that reducing GHG emissions not only meets consumers’ expectations for more earth-friendly products, but also reduces plant operation costs."

To view the full report or for more information, visit The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy