Family Green

The Family Milkman is making a comeback!

When I was little my grandmother used to get her milk delivered fresh every day by an elderly milkman who drove around in a milk cart – it was like an enlarged golf buggy. The bottles of milk would be stacked in brightly coloured crates and I’d run out of the garden to give him the empties and take a new bottle back home. On Mondays, we’d get fresh squeezed orange juice too, carefully rationed out to last the week as it was more expensive. These days, almost everyone buys their milk in plastic bottles from the supermarket as the prices dropped so low that your local milk man went out of business. As shops began to pop up everywhere and milk longevity increased, supermarket milk became not only cheaper, but even more convenient too.

I was absolutely delighted to recently read about the resurgence of the glass refillable milk bottle and those early morning deliveries. With an ever growing awareness in the environment and a desire to cut down on waste, people are realizing that the one thing that a glass milk bottle offered above all the other alternatives was it’s green impact. With the government’s recent pledge to scrap avoidable plastic waste entirely by 2042 and to add an extra tax on one-use items, the cost of the plastic milk bottle is going to rise which means in the future – our children could well be used to the refillable glass bottle again.

The Benefits of using Refillable Glass Bottles

  • The bottle is used time and time again, so it offers the best ecological impact and the least waste.
  • Glass is 100% recyclable with no loss in purity, so even if the bottle has reached the end of it’s re-usability, it can be recycled readily.
  • The milk is fresh and you know exactly where it’s coming from.
  • Plastics can melt and leak chemicals; although the plastic in food containers is deemed safe, there are still chemicals present. Glass is made entirely from natural materials and has no chemicals or contaminants.
  • Glass bottles preserve the taste of dairy, which means your milk will actually taste better!
  • It supports local business.

The Downsides of using Refillable Glass Bottles

  • It can be more expensive.
  • You can’t always get it at short notice.
  • Leaving bottles outside isn’t always practical in some areas / housing blocks.
  • Glass is more easily broken than plastic.

Given that last downside, I think there could be a market in the future for handing in your old bottle at your local store and switching it for a fresh one, rather than having to wait home for deliveries or have milk left outside. If the demand rises, this is one they will definitely find a solution for.

Since I’m very interested in reducing my waste and improving my ecological impact in small, practical ways, this one seemed to me like something that I could do. I’m not quite ready to switch to a vegan diet yet, but I do use organic cotton, look for the Fairtrade logo, try to maximise my recycling and minimize my waste. I’d consider myself environmentally conscious and like to think of ways my family can improve and I hope that my son will continue that having been brought up aware of the environment and the damage that we are doing to it.

It might cost a little bit more a week, but when you think about how many plastic cartons of milk are thrown away every year, glass milk bottles is a change that really makes a lot of sense to me. I googled and found a local milk delivery service that offers glass bottled organic milk, orange juice, fresh baked bread and free range hen’s eggs from a local farm. They only deliver twice a week so we’re going to have to keep a good eye on how much milk is left and make sure we order enough to avoid those emergency trips to the supermarket and I’m a bit nervous about leaving it on the doorstep as I live in an apartment, but I’m feeling really good about managing to reduce our plastic waste.

The family milkman is making a comeback, and I’m on board!

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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  • Reply Kim Carberry January 29, 2018 at 11:02 am

    There is still a milk man around here. We don’t order from him as it’s too expensive. The glass reusable bottles is better for the world! Good luck x #MMBC

  • Reply Debbie February 2, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Hi Christy, you made me feel so old as I grew up with a milkman delivering our milk every morning. Often I would get disturbed by the clicking of bottles and the gentle whirrr of the milk float. I am glad to read that they are making a comeback and the extra cost for using glass bottles is a small price to pay to help save the planet.


  • Reply Rosie (@greenrosielife and @ecogiteslenault) February 3, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    This is fabulous news – we always got our milk from the milkman when I was a child. I now live in France where there has never been doorstep milk deliveries but I simply buy my milk straight from the local farm, in glass bottle so of course! #MMBC

  • Reply Siobhan February 3, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    My Dad was a milkman when I was little and going along on his milkfloat wearing his hat (5 sizes too big for me!) was the ultimate treat. Love that they’re making a comeback!

  • Reply Nik February 3, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    When I lived on my own, I ordered from the milk man but we drink too much milk now to be able to afford it. It was fab though opening my door and seeing the milk there waiting for me and sometimes they would also leave a free bottle of orange juice too!

  • Reply Jade Bremner February 3, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    I’d love to use glass bottles but like some of the reason’s you mentioned it’s just not something we can do. The main issue is I think it would get stolen or we would run out and then have to get some from the shop.

  • Reply Veronica Lee February 4, 2018 at 10:32 am

    I am delighted that they are making a comeback. This brings back many fond memories.


  • Reply Laura | Dot Makes 4 February 4, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Such a great idea to use glass bottles. We used to have milk delivered when we were little and it would be great to have it delivered again 🙂 #KCACOLS

  • Reply Sophie February 4, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    We use the milkman here still. He’s actually quite competitive but still more expensive, I look at it as supporting a local dairy. The framers need our help so that they can stay milking. Thanks for highlighting this. #KCACOLS

  • Reply The Mummy Bubble February 4, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    I would happily have the extra cost of milk in exchange for the return of the milk man and glass bottles. I think the milk tastes much better! #KCACOLS

  • Reply Catherine @ Story Snug February 5, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    We throw away so many cartons and I would love to switch to having a milkman. I still remember our childhood milkman, we had the same one for years!!


  • Reply Becky @ Educating Roversi February 8, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    I love the idea of a milkman and vaguely remember the milk bottles outside our house every morning. To be honest, we could do with that as I am forever texting my husband saying “Out of milk, please get some on your way home” #KCACOLS

  • Reply Kate Eccles February 10, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    I have been ordering from our local milkman since we moved in, 6 years ago. It is brilliant to have fresh milk every morning especially with young milk guzzling children. Plus I love that the bottles are reused as I am trying to reduce our plastic waste and this is one less thing to worry about 🙂 Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS we do hope that you join us next time. Kate x

  • Reply Carolynne @ Mummy Endeavours February 14, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    I love this. We always had a milkman as kids and I do love the thought of orange being delivered with my milk too by the milkman. That clanging of bottles in the morning and the quiet sound of the electric milk floats fills me with nostalgia x #kcacp;s

    • Reply Christy - WelshMum February 18, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Thanks Carolynne. I hope that for our kids it becomes normal again.

  • Reply Ali Duke February 14, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    We used to get milk from the milkman when I was little. I think it is great that they are coming back, it is just the cost that puts me off.

    • Reply Christy - WelshMum February 18, 2018 at 10:11 am

      Same here. I did have to work it carefully into the budget.

  • Reply Nicola | Mummy to Dex February 15, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    My Dad who lives in north Wales still has his milkman! I often get stuck behind the floats on my way to work up here in Liverpool as well!


    • Reply Christy - WelshMum February 18, 2018 at 10:10 am

      Oh no.. that sounds like a downside I didn’t think about, getting stuck behind a float!

  • Reply Olivia February 21, 2018 at 5:14 am

    I like this a lot. A simple way we can all cut down on plastics. I’ll look into what’s available in my area.

  • Reply Gina Caro @ Gypsy Soul February 26, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    I’d love to switch to using a milkman but like you said it costs a lot more, which makes it hard to get the other half onboard with the idea. I guess if more people make the switch then the price will eventually come down.

    Someone mention a milk bot the other day which is a milk vending machine that some farmers have started using. They place them at the entrance to their farms and you go with your container and fill up. I love this idea and wonder whether this is something that could be made more mainstream in supermarkets or farmers markets.

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