Britons Want Their Milk in Glass Jars

CC BY 2.0. pleuntje -- Milk in glass jars awaits pickup

Old-fashioned milk delivery service is making a comeback as Britons move away from disposable plastics.

Who knew the old-fashioned milkman would make a comeback? The milk-delivery industry is seeing an unexpected resurgence in business, according to Mirror. Ever since Britons watched the BBC's Blue Planet II, which debuted late in 2017 and featured horrifying footage of plastic ocean pollution, UK company Milk&More; says it has gained more than 2,500 new customers in the past four weeks.

Milk&More; delivers milk (as well as non-dairy specialty milks) in refillable glass bottles right to customers' doorsteps, up to six times a week. Customers drink the milk and then return empty bottles for sterilization and reuse.

One driver, Keith Adams, says he picks up two or three new clients every week and he attributes the growing interest to "people thinking more about recycling." Another milk delivery company in London, Parker Dairies, has noticed a similar increase in clients in the past two years, "largely because of people trying to get away from plastic."

It's a curious inversion of the times. Glass bottles went out of style as people preferred the more 'convenient' option of disposable plastic jugs (or bags, as we use here in Canada, to the confusion of the rest of the world). But now things have gone full circle and it's hard to understand why those throwaway jugs were thought to be so convenient anyways. After all, what's more convenient than setting one's empties on the front step and getting a fresh batch in its place? You don't even need to leave the house!

Mirror says that, in the UK, a pint of milk in a glass jar costs 70p, compared to 50p for a plastic jug. This is a minimal increase, compared to the price difference in Canada, where a liter of organic milk in a glass jar is in the $6-7 range (that includes a $2 refundable deposit), compared to just over $1 for regular, non-organic milk in plastic (if purchased in the usual 4L bags). In other words, opting for glass is a huge financial commitment where I live.

No doubt commenters will have a few things to say about drinking milk in general, which is falling out of fashion these days -- and for good environmental reason -- but for those who drink it still, glass is certainly a better option for all those marine creatures that are suffering the consequences of our disposable consumer habits.