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Monday, May 14, 2012

Bring back the Milko!

by Megan from The Byron Life

Every day my family of five drinks a lot of milk. We have it on cereal in the morning; in our coffees and teas; we drink it by the glass full and we use it in cooking.

On average I think we can guzzle down one-two litres of the stuff a day - sometimes less, sometimes more (depending on how many bowls of cereal my two and five-year-olds wolf down!)
Anyway, we drink a lot of milk and every time I go to my local green grocer to buy another bottle I feel guilty.

Why?

Because of this excessive plastic packaging I am buying every single day.

I don't want to stop my family from drinking milk - we have no allergies to it and it provides a rich source of nutrients and protein, especially to the two of us who are mainly vegetarian - but I do want to cut back on the plastic.


Growing garlic in recycled milk bottles

I do recycle the containers - either putting them into our recycled garbage bin for collection, or like this: as seedling containers in the garden  - but this does nothing to prevent the buying of new plastic bottles.

My mission now is to find a way to source milk - locally - that does not require me buying these stupid plastic bottles every day.

Like the days when I was a kid (now I am sounding old!) when the milko delivered milk to our homes in recycled glass bottles with their little silver caps. Remember those days?

There was no waste, the milk was fresh and we lived perfectly well without plastic. Why can't we still have that system?

How about you? Short of raising your own dairy cow, do you have a method of sourcing milk that doesn't involve plastic bottles? Do tell!

x
Megan



26 comments:

Terra said...

I am in the same boat with you, aiming to cut down on plastic bottles when buying milk. Some natural health food stores in my area sell milk in returnable glass bottles, now that sounds good and old fashioned.

The Old Dairy said...

Yeh I also get my milk from the local organic fruit shop in glass bottles...It is dearer but worth it.
Mandy

Kaylen said...

Where I live (Ontario, Canada) we can get milk in bags http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/760654--so-we-drink-milk-from-bags-does-that-make-us-weird. At some point I want to carefully dry the plastic bags that the milk came in and weigh it to compare it to the weight of the (also plastic, also recyclable but not reusable) lids that come on glass bottles here. I suspect it'd be comparable.

But, yeah, the only way to get milk in a completely reusable bottle here is to buy unpasteurized milk illegally from a farmer. Silly.

Megan.K. said...

Kayleen - I have heard we can buy it locally from farmers - again illegal!! So, so stupid. I'm going to search the farmer out anyway : )

Thank you Terra and The Old Dairy - I will be looking into local health food shops for the glass bottles, if they are returnable, but I am dreading how expensive it is going to be for my large family! (if I can even find that option)

I have read about the milk sold in plastic bags in the UK too, Kayleen. Don't think we have them in OZ, but it sounds like the lesser of two evils. Maybe?

~ Megan

Hilde said...

In Germany, we have the choice between waxed paper containers (the usual thing) and returnable glass bottles. The glass bottles are more expensive and a problem when you go shopping on foot or with a bike, as I usually do, but I try to to buy them as often as possible. We used to have the bags, but I haven´t seen them in a long time now.

Marijke VanderVlist said...

We don’t drink a lot of milk, but ever since I started making yoghurt, custard, ricotta and so on, usage has gone up considerably. It would’t be enough to make a milking cow viable, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could have one for the neighbourhood? I would have no idea how this would work, but is sure food for thought...

Hazel said...

I'm in the UK and I have a fantastic milkman.

The milk is a bit more expensive than the supermarket, but it comes in foil topped glass bottles, he delivers 3 times a week in all weathers (even when everybody is snowed in the village) and the milk is comparatively local- most of it is about 50 miles away, which isn't bad. Lots of dairies will supply organic milk, but in tetrapaks or plastic, so I'm especially pleased that it comes in glass.

He'll also supply all sorts of other things- cream, potatoes, potting compost...!

SARINA said...

Like Hazel, I live in the UK. I don`t have a milkman delivering in my area anymore. They faced them out about 10 years ago. I do have to get my milk from supermarkets now, and I too hate the plastic waste. Been to an organic farm shop last weekend and even there they have gone over to plastic bottles for the milk they sell. It`s not easy to avoid the plastic now. I have not found a reliable source yet where I could swop the plastic containers for propperly refundable glass bottles.

Megan.K. said...

LOVE this idea Marijke! A communal cow - yes!
x Megan

Megan.K. said...

Does your milkman feel like a holiday to sunny Australia Hazel lol? I know just the place where a guy like that would be sooo welcome, and he'd never get snowed in! Seriously, though - hang on to him. He sounds like an absolute gem : )
x
Megan

datacreata said...

You could buy the 4 or 6 litre containers, that way you would cut down on the plastic as well as give yourself larger ones for growing in. We used to have a milkman who delivered milk daily in glass 1 pint bottles. However, when it got up to 40p per bottle (quite a few years ago now) and bought in supermarket milk was 25p, we gave the milkman up. My neighbour still has them but he says it is now getting far too expensive.

Joolzmac said...

Years ago, we had a functioning dairy on the outskirts of our town and everyone would decend on it at 5pm to get their milk - usually in a 5 litre Billy Bucket. I believe it was pasteurised as it always came out of a big vat. When you got the bucket home, you would wait for the cream to come to the top, skim some off for later then divide the milk into smaller containers. The cream was divine - gooey like honey!
Perhaps there is a dairy near you where you can provide your own containers?

Cheers - Joolz

Tameson said...

In NH there are a couple of dairies that sell in glass bottles (deposit return)through the local grocery stores. You can also purchase at farmers markets and on fsrm.

Anonymous said...

You might try to locate a farmer selling herd shares to provide your family with the benefits of wonderful raw milk from happy pastured cows or goats. It is worth the extra effort and generally will come in glass jars.

jennielee226 said...

I get my milk from a local mom and pop shop that buys from local farmers. It is sold in glass bottles and when you return them you get a credit. The only problem is you have to pre-order your milk at the beginning of every week.

Gwen said...

I'm also in the UK, and I've noticed that in the dairy section at the very large supermarket near me (a Sainbury's) they're now stocking bags of milk, and reusable hard plastic jugs which you pop the bags into. It's a nice idea! But it's still a ton of plastic, and I'm not convinced the bags are much less packaging than the jugs...

Megan.K. said...

Which part of the world are you writing from Jennielee? This sounds fabulous.
~Megan

Megan.K. said...

Which part of the world are you writing from Jennielee? This sounds fabulous.
~Megan

Susan said...

Finding a local farmer who will provide your family milk in reusable glass jars or a stainless steel milk can is the only solution we have found.... Here in the US we found sources through rawmilk.com or craigslist several times, but eventually we did get our own cow! For us it was part of our dream and we love having her; even though it's a lot of work we relish having all the milk and cream we can possibly drink, making cheese and butter, etc.

We sell some of the surplus to neighbors and eventually hope to sell more, as well as meat and vegetables, so I can quit my day job and be a full time homemaker. We know there are more people out there who desire this kind of a product, it's just not easy to find each other!

Christina said...

Luckily I found a woman through the school with which I work and our children go to who has a running farm, a CSA, the whole deal. I get all my dairy and eggs from her, fresh from the cow weekly. And it is organic to boot. So thankful to have found her and her farm. I live in Pennsylvania, United States.

Maxabella said...

I feel exactly the same. Why are milk cartons so big and so plastic? I'd love to go back to the old glass bottles that really, truly were 'recyclable'. Used again and again for their purpose rather than recycled to be converted into something else at great expense to the environment. x

LindaG said...

The only place I know of to get milk in bottles here, is 3 hours away, so not practical.
Hoping to find somewhere once we retire that will be closer.

seagreen said...

Those plastic bottles do add up .. we've made planters like yours, funnels, bottles for dishwashing liquid and recycled the rest but I still feel guilty buying all that plastic. I'm so old I remember when we left a billy can out which the milkman would fill .. not even glass bottles.

Alison said...

We get ours in glass bottles straight from the farmer - who collects and reuses them - and are now part owners of one of his cows. But there is also a Western Australian dairy that packages its milk in recyclable bags made from chalk. I used to be a milko - it was my first job. The clink of glass bottles brings back so many memories
http://thiscosycorner.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/milk-day.html

Anonymous said...

I read this article on the same day that I read your post! There's hope! http://happyzine.co.nz/2012/05/11/village-people-set-up-twenty-four-hour-road-side-raw-milk-vending-machine-in-golden-bay

kas_chat said...

I have been thinking about milk a lot lately, since I saw Bath Milk being sold out of a truck at the Northey Street City Farm Organic Sunday Market in Brisbane. I recall my parents having this blue plastic tub in the fridge when they have four children at home under the age of five. There was a milk bladder in the blue tub with a spout, that would have been in Benella, Victoria, Australia in about 1977. I recently purchased a 10 litre bottle of water that came in a bladder with a spout packed in a cardboard box, so that I can keep it in the back of my car, to refill the children's water bottles, rather than buying a new water bottle or a small pop top bottle if we are out. maybe soon the bladder milk cartons will come back, only worry is there are barely any diaries around here.