The bottles are manufactured using Xamos, a new polyethylene terephthalate (PET) based material specifically developed by Amcor PET Packaging Europe. Xamos achieves an extremely high opacity at a low thickness, providing greater protection from light damage, the company claims. This allows the bottles to deliver a four-month minimum shelf life for UHT milk. The new product is part of a growing trend for packaging that is environmentally-friendly, but does not scrimp on quality or choice. Amcor claims that although they are made from only a single layer of plastic, the new Xamos bottles offer all the traditional consumer benefits of PET packaging. The product is lightweight, easy to handle and convenient, the company said. The injected finish and precise dimensions result in a tight fitting cap, eliminating the need for an aluminium seal. It also answers increasing demand for bottles rather than the traditional laminated carton or brick, the company claims. "Trends in dairy markets indicate that there is a strong consumer move towards bottles for UHT milk, particularly in countries where it is preferred to fresh milk," said Doris Schneider, marketing manager of Amcor. "Bottles are more attractive, offer greater opportunities for individual designs and branding, and are perceived to be more convenient and user-friendly." Other forms of UHT milk packaging have to be multilayer to achieve the product protection required by law, the company said, and so the new product is also less harmful to the environment. In May, environmental researchers Worldwatch said that there is a growing demand for bottled water packaging, but recycling rates are falling. While global beverage consumption has doubled between 1997 and 2005, reaching $10bn (€7.4bn) in the US alone, the country sends two million tons of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottled water packaging to landfill each year. In 2005, the recycling rate for PET was only 23.1 per cent in the US, far below the 39.7 per cent rate achieved a decade earlier, according to Worldwatch. Across Europe, the PET recycling rate averages between 20 and 40 per cent. Amcor is one of the world's largest providers of PET to the food and beverage industries, with businesses in Australasia, North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Last October the company announced it was investigating the potential for a new line of biodegradable bottles for the European markets, and on the website it pledges to "achieve best practice environmental management across all its operations around the world."