Fonterra Milk for Schools takes recycling and environmental awareness seriously – in fact, you could say we’re passionate about it. We pass that passion onto students, helping them to learn about recycling and how we can all make a difference for our environment. Take a look at all the ways Fonterra Milk for Schools and everyone involved works to recycle, reduce waste and do our bit for our communities.

Fonterra Milk for Schools Recycling Programme – An Accredited Product Stewardship Scheme

As recognition of our commitment to collect and recycle all waste generated from the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme, our recycling programme has been recognised as a product stewardship scheme and accredited by the Ministry for the Environment.

More about the Product Stewardship Scheme


Setting up the schools

Making sure that our programme is environmentally responsible means not only educating our schools about recycling, but also setting up a process where they have everything they need to make sure that milk packs, straws and straw wrappers are collected and recycled.

Each school receives free recycling bins, bin liner bags and recycling collection, and they’re visited by our school liaison team who give them training and ongoing support. There are also a number of programme guides, education and environmental resources handy for use in the classroom on our online school portal. It’s about setting schools up with good recycling habits, and helping them keep it up too. We’re happy to drop into schools regularly to reward excellent recyclers, give a talk to the kids or to help out where needed.

Drink it dry, fold it flat

Specially designed 200mL packs hold just the right amount of milk, so kids can drink every last drop. The packs are folded flat in a special way that means the recycling bins can be filled with twice as many milk packs. This minimises the number of recycling collections needed by the Anchor Milkman. Folding the milk cartons is a bit like origami and the kids get pretty quick at folding them down once they get the hang of it!

Click here to watch the instructional video clips

Bins are emptied, ready for collection

You wouldn’t know it to look at them, but the Fonterra Milk for Schools recycling bins are made from 60% recycled milk bottles! It’s in these bins that the flattened milk packs are stored, ready for collection before delivery to Fonterra Recycling Centres located all over the country.

Stacked, packed and shipped

On arrival to our Recycling Centres, everything is sorted and prepared for shipping. Baled into 500kg bundles and packed for travel, the bales make their way to selected recycling facilities in Thailand or Malaysia.

The recycling process

The recycling facility makes short work of recycling all the Tetra Paks, which are made up of 70% cardboard and 30% foil and plastic. First, the layers are separated using a process called hydropulping. The paper, aluminium and plastic are then processed, ready to be made into fantastic new products.


Recycled materials become new products

School books, writing pads, wall cladding, and roof tiles are just some of the things that can be made from recycled Fonterra Milk for Schools packs. Students and schools are happy to know that every single milk pack is recycled into new and useful products to be used by someone else around the world.

Click here to download a poster of the recycling journey

Recycling Cartons, Building a Better Future

A great video showing the recycling process for Fonterra Milk for Schools packs, from school to new products; check out our FAQs for answers to some common questions.

Our National Recycling Awards

Throughout the year schools are awarded for excellent recycling – a way to help them stay enthusiastic about recycling on an ongoing basis.

Schools nominated throughout the year then have the opportunity to win the Fonterra Milk for Schools National Recycling Award. These nominations come from the people who see schools’ recycling efforts first-hand – the milkmen! Our Anchor milkmen, who deliver the milk to schools and pick up the recycling, nominate the best school in their region each term.

Then, each school from this shortlist competes in a challenge to see who’ll take out the title. In 2013 we held a poster competition, and in 2014 and 2015 it was about designing something amazing from recycled milk packs. What can we think of next?

See previous winners

Environment news

24 Oct 2018

Sustainability Day Recycling Environment Competitions

13 Feb 2015

Fonterra Milk for Schools National Recycling Award 2014 Waikato Recycling Environment Competitions

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