You may have noticed from reading my blog that every so often I post photos of my milk deliveries. It’s sad, but true, that I am very proud that for the past 12 years we have had a doorstep milk delivery. When we first moved to the village we used a local delivery service. However this was passed onto Dairy Crest who now deliver our milk.
There are many reasons why we chose to have a milk delivery but as well as convenience and reliability one of the biggest factors is the returnable glass bottles. Through all the zero waste/non supermarket/plastic free challenges I have undertaken on this blog I have always been able to smugly sit back and know that my milk (and, at times, orange juice) supply has ticked all of the boxes above. (And the foil tops can be put straight into my recycling box).
Imagine my distress, then, to hear recently that Dairy Crest will be closing its last glass bottle production plant in 2016. For more information read here and here
The company claims that, as well as being more expensive to produce, glass weighs 15 times more which makes it more expensive to transport. Dairy Crest also claims that plastic is as environmentally friendly as glass. It does take more energy to produce glass but glass milk bottles can be re-used up to 20 times whereas plastic can only be used once. Plastic recycling also uses more resources and the quality of a recycled product is reduced (this also depends on us buying/using recycled plastic products as well).
I can understand that from an economic point of view Dairy Crest feels it has to swap to plastic bottle production. In 2012 only 2 million households had doorstep deliveries, compared to 40 million twenty years ago.
However I shall be bitterly disappointed when the changeover happens and will wonder what the difference is between having plastic milk bottles delivered to my home, compared to picking them up in the supermarket. In the meantime I have a year to see if I can find an alternative supplier of milk in glass bottles. Please let me know if you hear of any as well…