Milking it

  • Chris Jeavans
  • 4 Aug 08, 01:45 PM GMT

There is something pleasingly old-fashioned about a doorstep milk delivery, the clink of the glass bottles and the hum of the electric milk float.

milkman_skiing1962getty.jpgMaybe it's because when I was a child in the 1970s, the television series Play School seemed to show a milk bottling plant "through the round window" practically every week.

So, I am excited that our first delivery will arrive on Wednesday.

I had no idea whether there was a milkman who delivered in our area but a quick look on confirmed that there was.

I even placed my order online and, should I ever need to vary the weekly order, I can tweak that too - a virtual note in the empty bottle.

As a nation, we do get through a lot of the white stuff: according to Defra, the UK produces between 13-14 billion litres of milk a year, of which almost half is processed into liquid milk.

blog_milk94bbc.jpgAlmost 80% of milk sold by retailers is in plastic containers, with only about 11% of milk sold in glass bottles and the rest in cartons.

However, while getting milk delivered feels more environmentally friendly than picking up a plastic bottle at the supermarket, the case is not clear cut.

Milk bottles are made from HDPE and, along with clear PET drinks bottles, are very widely recyclable in the UK with 92% of local authorities collecting them.

Plastics recycling experts Recoup say that this has resulted in 35% of all plastic bottles discarded in the UK last year being recycled, compared with just 3% in 2001.

And whereas in the past, much of the HDPE from bottles was "downcycled" into lower-grade uses, the recent development of bottle-to-bottle processing plants means that recycled plastic (rHDPE) can now be used in new milk bottles.

Marks and Spencer trialled the use of 10% rHDPE in its four litre bottles of organic milk in 2006 and plans to increase that to 50% recycled material across all its milk range.

Packaging giant Nampak says it expects to have 30% rHDPE bottles in production in 2009.

And Defra in its Milk Roadmap (yes, really) has set targets for all milk bottles to have 50% recycled content by 2020.

Furthermore, the tall wire cages, or "roll containers", on which milk bottles are stacked in supermarkets mean the bottles can be transported directly from processing plant to store with no extra packaging.

It is even possible to buy milk in a bag which cuts packaging further.

blue_tit_colinsargent.jpgHowever, the big advantage to glass bottles is that they can be rinsed, sterilised and reused almost instantaneously, rather than having to go through a lengthy recycling process.

Dairy Crest, which will be making my delivery, say their bottles are reused a minimum of 20 times before being crushed and used as hardcore.

The biggest question remains however: will my pintas be safe from the scourge of milk drinkers - the blue tit? I'll keep you posted.


  • Comment number 1.

    You are right here in saying that the answer is not clear cut. I do think overall that using a milkman is a better option generally though. If you can get your milkman to deliver bread and other essentials, it'll also stop people 'just nipping down the supermarket in the car', so there's a win-win here.

    Interesting that Dairy Crest crush their bottles after so many uses to provide aggregate (I guess they must scan them for flaws, and crush the rejects?) This is a valid recycling route for this material unless you have a glass manufacturer close to hand, in which case they should be seeking to provide cullet - every 10% cullet added to the mix reduces energy use by something like 0.4MW per tonne of glass produced, and most utility glass mixes can take up to 40% cullet without too much bother. But if you have to truck it a long way, making aggregate locally for local use is better.

    I personally do not like the idea of the 'disposable pouch', because I feel that this is less likely to get recycled the HDPE bottle or the glass bottle. I also haven't seen a convincing lifecycle assessment to underpin its use - willing to change my mind on this though.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good luck with this; there is something very 'feel good' about supporting the local milkman, who I'm sure is in danger of becoming a dying breed, so to speak.

    I have fond memories as a child of going out on frosty mornings and finding the milk had turned solid! We were never burgled by blue tits though; so perhaps you'll be ok with it!

  • Comment number 3.

    But the real question begs, does the milk delivered by the milkman come from ... "happy cows"?

    All kidding aside, I've not seen hide nor hair of the elusive milkman no matter where I have lived in the US since my early childhood. What a pity. You folks have something very special if you can still get service like that (in the glass bottle).

    What an amazing story, the story of the blue tit. It is described under the "Learning" paragraph in the results of a "blue tit" Wiki search, by the way, for those of you (like me) who are unfamiliar with the subject.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hello Chris,
    I was wondering for those of us reading from the States could you please explain what a blue tit is? It means something very different I'm sure than what we are picturing... :)
    Thanks so much, and good luck!

  • Comment number 5.

    Oops! I should have realised that this may not be understood outside the UK :-)

    A blue tit is a common small blue and yellow garden bird.

    They are often more noticable in winter when they look for food and have a habit of pecking the foil tops of full fat milk on the doorstep to get at the cream.

    This is not apocryphal - it used to happen to our milk now and again when I was a child.

  • Comment number 6.

    No doubt this comment will start a flame war... but Britain is the only country in the world that still sells milk in pints (I refer to UK pints, not the US ones which are different) which means that there are production plants out there making containers (whether glass, plastic, or whatever) which are unusable anywhere else in the world. Surely switching to metric, hence being able to rationalise production, would go some way to reducing both production costs as well as the related environmental impact of this production?

    Also, since many British companies DO sell milk in metric quantities using single standardised product might also help save space during transportation!

  • Comment number 7.

    Its not clear cut. Many properties like flats don't allow glass bottle deliveries and are at risk. Also they don't come as 4litre containers.

    Also milkmen don't come around when the milk run's out so involves more inconvenience and billing.

    HDPE is far more convenient!

  • Comment number 8.

    35% of platic bottles are recycled, when 98% of authorities operate recycling schemes?

    It's not enough! It means 65% end up in land fill.

    M and S use10% recycled material in their bottles?

    Not enough!

    I'm glad they are increasing this. This makes the empty bottle a resource, and encourages the councils to collect them.

  • Comment number 9.

    Chris, first off, congratulations on the first few days of your great experiment! It has already made me take greater notice of all of the plastic that I use on a daily basis, so I think you're meeting at least some of your objectives, despite your very mild slip-ups at the fair!

    I do realize that the goal of your August mission is to reduce your plastic footprint and not your overall carbon footprint, but for others looking to reduce their negative impact, I have to wonder about the impact of the fuel used in trucks making individual milk deliveries, rather than one bulk delivery, especially since most people will still also drive to the grocery for the rest of their food purchases. My (strictly unscientific) guess is that the gasoline used to deliver to all the houses along a milk deliverer's route outweighs the marginal difference between recycled glass and recycled plastic.

    Anyone know how that would balance out?

  • Comment number 10.

    legendaryABailey: Not wanting to flame, but I don't understand.

    What's the point of standardising the container size if they are not going to be transported abroad? The UK sells milk in Imperial pints; British containers are manufactured locally and re-used locally. It must be more environment-friendly to make containers locally than to make them somewhere else and transport them to where they are to be used. Even if we import milk, it's more efficient to import it in bulk tankers and bottle it locally than to transport the milk inside its bottles or cartons.

    "A single standardised product" implies a fixed shape. Even companies selling milk in metric containers make a litre of milk fit very different shapes.

  • Comment number 11.

    Sorry I'm coming very late to this so may have completely misunderstood what you're doing. However I don't understand how you've managed to place an online order without coming into contact with plastic? What are your mouse and keyboard made out of?

    Or is the point simply that you don't *consume* any plastic? Which is not really the "plastic avoidance" lifestyle that the BBC headline suggested...

  • Comment number 12.

    #3 and #4: I've added a picture of a blue tit now.

  • Comment number 13.

    alkykat720, you are missing the point.

    The computer keyboard is not used once then thrown away is it? That would stupid on many levels. Bottles are thrown away.

    The point is that Chris was, for example, buying 20 odd bottles of water every month.

    It's a waste. Now she is doing the equivilent of a crash diet, cutting out platic altogether. I think it;s a journo's gimmick to grab a headline.

    It would be better to just reduce the amount of plastic she uses (bags, cups and bottles ) all the time, not just for one month.

  • Comment number 14.

    i have followed this blog from your first day and i think this is an amazing thing. Over this weekend whilst out food shopping i couldnt help but look around for the foods that was packaged in plastic.

    I wish you all the luck with this and hope you get your milk on time.


  • Comment number 15.

    Of course an additional benefit is that the milk from your milkman will more than likely come from local farms, thus less food miles. In my case in Sheffield the milk has probably travelled less distance from the dairy than it would take to drive to the supermarket and back. Also because you get regular deliveries it takes up less space in the fridge so you can have a smaller fridge or few trips to the shops.

  • Comment number 16.

    Hi Chris,

    I think this blog is excellent. I try to have an odd, personal goal every month and have decided to join you in your challenge.

    I totally understand your quest for cheese! And, I have also slipped up a few times
    (chocolate bar for my nephew, which I thought was wrapped in foil). It's easy to do!

    Quick question - what are you doing about your rubbish?

    I realize it is impossible to completely cut plastic out of your life and the ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of plastic you throw out. But, I can't help but feel that throwing my rubbish out in a plastic bag is defeating the purpose...

    Have you been able to come up with anything?

    Thanks for the idea/challenge!

  • Comment number 17.

    Regarding comment number 4, perhaps you should also mention to our american friends that "Great tits" is not only a compliment ( and "Bearded tits" are fairly rare here as well).

  • Comment number 18.

    Hi Chris,

    High value recyclate is a big step forward to a sustainable (closed loop) process which will hopefully be 100% in the near? future.
    Milk bags are not as good as you think. they are 100% landfill, yet another plastic bag!
    Are you going to weigh your weekly bin waste. This will be a good indication of your progress. I have followed a Zero Waste trend and my current total bin waste is about 10 oz for a single household, after 17 weeks.
    For all the plastic lovers - Will you accept a new landfill site close to you?

  • Comment number 19.

    Milk used to be delivered from electric milk floats which had the advantage of being nearly silent when they were operating. The real reason they were used was that they were very cheap to operate as they were not driven very far or fast, and spent quite a lot of time sitting on the road side.

    They replaced horse drawn milk floats that had the added advantage that the milkman didn't need to move them along the road - the horse followed the milk man as he moved along the street.

    I remember them being used when I was a boy in the 1970's in Edinburgh. There was an expression to describe people in a hurry which was "like a milk horse heading home" as they alway used to trot home to their stables (that were in the centre of town) at the end of their deliveries.

  • Comment number 20.

    Here in the USA, I also grew up with doorstep milk delivery. That same company now has many outlets for their products throughout the mid-west, primarily Illinois. It is hormone free and carried in several groceries. It is very costly, much more than in the plastic jug!
    They still deliver to the door, but now you have in insulated box to hold the milk; think picnic cooler. Guess that plastic cooler might be a bit of a violation, but it is something you keep long term and don't throw out!

    And it keeps out any annoying birds! Don't think we have that particular "pest" here in the states!

  • Comment number 21.


    A dairy that operates from Colorado and Wyoming also delivers to the door but they use an insulated metal cooler with their logo to hold the milk. You keep it as long as you are a customer, if you stop delivery it goes back to the company.

    They also deliver bread, eggs,cheese and butter which is nice for my daughter in the winter. She doesn't have to take her little ones out in bad weather.

    As to comparison costs to the environment for this service, I can't answer that either. I use very little milk so it isn't an issue for me.

  • Comment number 22.


    You are doing so well!

    I wish I could achieve Zero Waste. I am guessing we are about 85 to 90 percent there. We have a good recycle program here. My food waste goes to our animals or to compost but there are still some things we put in the rubbish. I am learning a lot here and getting some good ideas.

    Chris, you are doing a wonderful thing to raise awareness, as well as, giving all of us a forum to share ideas.

  • Comment number 23.


    You are doing well too. My percentage is 99%. Hopefully the remaining 1% can be kept from landfill with new developments.
    Is landfill a burning issue, where you are?
    Also, what is in your rubbish, mine is all plastic waste?

  • Comment number 24.

    Excellent blog!

    Much more interesting than the final outcome (what is the minimum plastic waste you'll go through in a month) is the description of all the challenges along the way.

    Minor detail: your picture is actually of a great tit ( Obviously milk drinking problems run in the family...

    Good luck!

  • Comment number 25.

    What's the problem with plastic anyway?

    OK, it uses oil: but nowhere near as much as heating and transport. In fact, I recently heard a Danish expert state that because you can make plastic from it, oil is far too valuable a resource to just burn so we can get from place to place or keep warm.

    OK, discarded plastic (and plastic in landfills) is an environmental problem: however, many other countries neither use landfill as a primary method of disposing of refuse, nor have a substantial problem with litter in the countryside. We Brits drop a lot of litter and some of this is non-degradable plastic. This is more a problem of behaviour than one caused by the material itself.

    Many plastics can be recycled over and over, and others can be incinerated, producing carbon dioxide and water. The Danes do it cleanly - why can't we?

    As to the advantages of plastic, they're pretty obvious. Take the example of a water butt (or one of those blue 55 gallon drums used as same). It's popped out of a mould with little use of energy, is light to carry, uses few materials and lasts for ages. Compare that to a wooden barrel or a metal one and it's pretty clear that the plastic one is simply superior. The same approach can be applied to many different everyday objects made of plastic: they're simply fitter for their purpose.

    Don't get me wrong: too much plastic is used for one-off packaging and suchlike, which we can probably do without, if we so choose. I think we're using too many of the planet's resources, plain and simple, and I try to use a minimum of them myself. But plastic is such a fantastic material - don't throw out the baby with the bathwater!

  • Comment number 26.


    Landfill is a big problem in the UK. We have to reduce our home waste and Chris is highlighting this by attempting to reduce her plastic output.
    Plastic is useful. It will be part of a sustainable cycle where waste is reduced to a negligible amount. This means an end to the current system of never-ending waste production and ever-increasing landfill deposit. The UK must not be turned into 1 huge landfill site!
    Incineration is not an alternative as it will impact on the air that we breathe.

  • Comment number 27.

    PoorUnknown wrote 'Many plastics can be recycled over and over, and others can be incinerated, producing carbon dioxide and water. The Danes do it cleanly - why can't we?'

    Whilst I agree with your views on incineration (I have no issue with the emissions from a modern Waste Incineration Directive compliant plant), it is a wasted opportunity to recover energy from plastics.

    Consider the following :-
    Energy to make 1kg of PET = 84MJ
    Energy contained in 1kg of PET = 71MJ
    Efficiency of an average incinerator for electricity generation only = 21% net if you are lucky.
    Energy retrieved from that 1kg of plastic = 71*0.21 = 14.9MJ. It'll generate you about 4kwhr of electricity. You're throwing away 79% of the energy embedded in that material in doing so though.
    Now look at the energy involved in recycling 1kg of PET. It takes around 0.5MJ/kg to recycle PET.

    In other words - recycling plastic has 3 orders of magnitude less impact than burning it. This is why you should only burn those plastic fractions that are beyond recycling - you can go to almost any length to recycle them and still be in credit as regards your ecological footprint.

    It's not quite as stark as this in the Danish example, because they burn waste to produce heat, and their net efficiencies can be around 70% rather than 21%. It's still not as good as recycling this material though.

  • Comment number 28.

    Johnhcrf wrote 'The UK must not be turned into 1 huge landfill site! Incineration is not an alternative as it will impact on the air that we breathe.'

    Actually, the amount that we landfill has been falling for some while - the landfill tax escalator, increasing environmental regulation and a growing scarcity of sites have all been drivers away from landfill and towards recycling.

    Your comment about incineration is also unfounded. A modern WID compliant incinerator has far less of an impact than almost any other combustion process, or indeed most other emission sources. I'd rather live next door to an incinerator than I would a motorway, for example.

  • Comment number 29.


    Mine is, as well. There are some plastics that are so hard to avoid and that can't be recycled.
    I live in a rural area so while getting some things without excessive packaging is easier than for city folk, when I do go to town for some needs I end up with plastic that I have to dispose of in waste.

  • Comment number 30.


    We send a lot of waste to China. When China stops taking it we will have to landfill it here.
    Incineration puts noxious chemicals into the artmosphere eg NO2, dioxin etc. Burning plastic , which I have done at home, is a very messy process.
    What is your background? You sound like an apologist (council) for incineration, disliked by the general public.

  • Comment number 31.


    I didn't answer your second question. Land fill is always an issue, I think, but there has been a lot of improvement here due to more extensive and efficient recycling. As far as I see it, the major problem is that many people do not take advantage of our recycling programs. This is why I think that all people around the world who care about this should speak out as much as possible.

    I am cheering for Chris and her efforts.
    It really helps to bring awareness to our need to reduce wasteful packaging.

  • Comment number 32.

    Slightly off topic, but birds stealing milk (or cream) through the foil top is a thing of the past. No more cream on top of your daily pinta and the birds are not very interested. Maybe if we had another 1976-style drought (not one of those pathetic wrong kind of rain things we have nowadays), the birds might be grateful for any kind of liquid.

  • Comment number 33.

    Johnhcrf wrote 'We send a lot of waste to China. When China stops taking it we will have to landfill it here.
    Incineration puts noxious chemicals into the artmosphere eg NO2, dioxin etc. Burning plastic , which I have done at home, is a very messy process.
    What is your background? You sound like an apologist (council) for incineration, disliked by the general public.'

    My background? Chartered environmental scientist, 20 years experience, local Green Party activist. What's your background, out of interest?

    Now we're done with the ad-hominem, lets analyse your comments.

    1. Sending material to China - you can transport plastic waste pretty much around the globe for recycling before it becomes a bad environmental option, due to its high embedded energy. Better to recycle it in this country, but better to send it anywhere rather than landfill it.
    2. If you burn plastic at home, you are burning it at around 400C in an oxygen poor environment, with no abatement and a minimal residence time. Better conditions for producing dioxins do not exist. Waste incinerators have to comply with an 850C secondary combustion temperature, in an oxygen rich environment with comprehensive abatement of emissions at the back end of the process. These conditions are very unfavourable for dioxin production. This is why UK waste incinerators are today responsible for less than 1% of all dioxin releases. Garden bonfires and barbecues are responsible for about 19%, from memory. I do hope you don't enjoy the odd barbecue if you are bothered about dioxins...

    Another growing source of them is the combustion of biomass - no combustion process is guaranteed to be free of dioxins, and as biomass generation doesn't have the controls on it that waste incineration does, there is growing evidence that this sector produces dioxins in increasingly significant amounts. Read an interesting German paper on it a while back.

    Sorry if this doesn't accord with what you might have read on the internet, but I've been studying this area for years - as a scientist and as an environmentalist. I have no problem with optimised energy recovery in its correct place as a result, and have been round a number of exemplar facilities, including some on the continent so well engineered that the only problem they have with dioxins is finding any at all to monitor.

  • Comment number 34.


    When purchasing in town, take with you home containers and purchase items unpackaged, Zero Waste. If there are no unpackaged goods, empty contents into containers, where practicable. Leave the waste in town, if you can.
    Full participation is required among the public. Chris's efforts will help push the message to a larger audience.

  • Comment number 35.

    But, Johnhcf, I would still be leaving waste behind even if someone else had to deal with it. However, I guess this would be a message to the supplier to reduce packaging.

  • Comment number 36.

    When we lived in Reading in 1985/6, our milk bottle tops were pecked through, not by the delicate pinpricks of the tits and robins, but punched chisel-like by magpies who hung about the road like gangs of asboed teenagers waiting to attack milk bottles and garbage bags. The only solution was flower pots (nice environmentally friendly clay ones) over the bottles: the milkman swapped them from empty ones to full ones. Very few people use milk delivery here in sub-tropical Queensland as the milk goes off too quickly.

  • Comment number 37.

    We have had a milkman deliver our milk to our house for as long as I can remember! At least 15-20 years!!!
    There is a lot of ease and satisfaction getting our milk delivered and saves a lot of time! There is also the fact that we receive fresh milk daily, rather than buying several pints at the start of the week, to save having to go to the shops every day to get milk!!

    I think it's a great thing, as it also keeps the milkman his job and it's a cool tradition.

    By the way, to keep the birds off your bottles, put old aerosol or fabric conditioner lids on top of your old bottles the night before! The milkman will put your lids on your new bottles then!!

  • Comment number 38.


    Modern incinerators - you obviously haven't heard of PM2.5s than are not monitored under WID, like 100+other chemicals. Don't kid yourself WID levels are an accurate enforceable environmental/health safeguard. Its a political compromise. Infant mortality maps this year prove infant mortality is 300% higher downwind around all 12 major UK Energy from Waste incinerators. Its ONS government data.

  • Comment number 39.

    In an island as small as yours, Chris, I would have assumed that recycling would be a big issue. I live in the second largest country on earth and we have garbage police. That's right. Throw out a recyclable yogurt container and it will cost you C$75.00, roughly 37.50 Sterling. Milk in bags? We've been doing that for decades and the packaging can be recycled. What got me about your post was that electric milk floats are legal. Here, there was a big fuss over letting electric scooters on the road. Anything with four or three wheels is out rightly banned, even though we have the technology. As an earlier reader wrote; why don't we make everything in metric and share the waste/recyclables? Beyond me. We were supposed to go metric back in the 70's, but a piece of plywood now is 25mm thick but still 4'x8'.

    Wait 'til I'm elected Grand Pooh-Bah for life!

  • Comment number 40.

    Empty yoghurt cartons or similar are effective at keeping the blue tits out. And the milkman will transfer them from the empties to the new bottles.

  • Comment number 41.

    Dear Chris,

    Been following your progress for the last few days, very nice job! Makes us all think about the amount of wasted plastic we dump on the planet.

    After living in Brazil for 30 years and now in the US, you really make a good point on your challenge. I've seen beaches of almost deserted Isles in Brazil with so much plastic washed up from the sea some 20 years ago that it really makes me wonder how much more there must be nowadays. A lot of sea creatures die from having their stomachs full of plastic bags and no food!!!

    Cutting down our plastic disposal certainly is a great goal to make people more aware of our throw away style of life.

    Keep up the job!!!

  • Comment number 42.

    Very worthy using a milkman but you won't catch me doing that. I occasionally still hear the milk float wheezing down the road at about three in the morning. It reminds me of all the times in the summer when the milk was off by the time you got up because it had been sitting on the doorstep for a few hours in the balmy summer night's heat. If it wasn't already off when you picked it up off your doorstep it would be within a day or two. It is far less wasteful to buy a four pinter from Tesco with a ten day shelf life. A darn sight cheaper too. Quite frankly, who cares if a few milkmen lose their jobs, there are loads of other jobs they could do.

    One question I do have about plastic recycling...

    If the problem is that there are too many types of plastic used in food packaging, why don't manufacturers start using less types? It seems like an obvious solution.

  • Comment number 43.


    My background is a growing concern for waste and the apparent blind eye shown to it by Councils, Superstores, Business generally and Government. I decided to take up the Zero Waste challenge to reduce home bin waste, so far 99% reduction, others have joined-in, change is occurring everywhere but issues remain to be confronted by concerned individuals.
    Incineration, as it appears in the media regularly, is a subject many are aware of. The reaction to it is immediate opposition by all and sundry. I am weak on the science but it seems it may be an easier, cheaper solution for some whose first concern is not necessarily the best choice for the public.

  • Comment number 44.

    Robius3 wrote 'AdeJones - Modern incinerators - you obviously haven't heard of PM2.5s than are not monitored under WID, like 100+other chemicals. Don't kid yourself WID levels are an accurate enforceable environmental/health safeguard. Its a political compromise. Infant mortality maps this year prove infant mortality is 300% higher downwind around all 12 major UK Energy from Waste incinerators. Its ONS government data.'

    Of course I've heard of PM2.5's. Those maps you refer to? They don't prove anything of the sort. If you want a peer-reviewed scientific paper on the real risks, google for 'Waste incineration—how big is the health risk? A quantitative method to allow comparison with other health risks' - Roberts and Chen, 2006 - originally published in the Journal for Public Health, 25/07/06.

    This concludes 'Results Anxiety, employment, noise, occupational risks, road accidents, and reduced use of landfill were all considered to have a potential, but unquantifiable, effect on health. Stack emissions over 25 years in a population of 25,398 within 5.5 km of the stack would result in an additional 0.018 cancers, 0.46 deaths brought forward due to sulphur dioxide and 0.02 deaths due to fine particles. The overall risk of dying due to emissions in any one year was 2.49 x 10–7 or 1 in 4 million.'

    The paper went on to state that 'Therefore, over its operating life of 25 years, there is a 2% probability that, because of fine particle emissions, one death would occur in addition to the 236 deaths related to existing levels of fine particle pollution in the area from all other sources, particularly vehicle emissions, increasing the total from 7025 to 7026.'

    It seems that the academics aren't in agreement with your figures. BTW - WID levels are more stringent (by as much as an order of magnitude) than for comparable industrial processes. As much as 1/4 of the cost of a modern continental EfW plant can be attributed to the abatement train on said plant.

    If incineration is so bad, how come the top 5 recycling EU member states also lead on the energy from waste list? These top 5 also have a much higher percentage of the green vote than we do. It seems that environmentalists in those countries who are actually achieving something are a bit more relaxed about incineration than we are.

  • Comment number 45.

    #43 - Johnhcrf - what makes you think that those organisations you refer to aren't taking waste seriously? Where do you think all the pressure to reduce waste is coming from? You'll find it's mainly legislative and commercial pressure, rather than public lobbying.

    You are also wrong about opposition to incineration. Sure, there's a national network of anti-incinerator groups. When you look into it though, it's mainly driven by a small number of activists, with a vested agenda. When government has gone out to local communities and asked 'what alternatives to landfill do you want to see?', energy from waste scores highly among the general public when considering the residual treatment options. Ask the people of Lerwick what they think about EfW, for example - they are between £500 and £750 per annum better off as a result of being on a district heating ring powered by an EfW plant (at energy efficiencies double those of a conventional power station, and with lower emissions.) This is a plant built by the same company responsible for the bulk of the Danish plants - Denmark has 29.

    I'm ambivalent about the technology. I'd rather we didn't build EfW plants. Ultimately though, there remains a residual that needs to be dealt with. Optimised EfW is about the best way to deal with this. I prefer gasification myself, but traditional mass-burn plants will do provided you design them robustly enough to meet current and future emission limits.

  • Comment number 46.


    Admittedly, incineration is not my strong point but waste is.

    To say that all those organisations I earlier mentioned were clued-in to the waste problem when I and others who tried Zero Waste could not get anywhere near to it.
    Knowing about the problem and taking responsibility for that problem has not been achieved yet. The unsustainable waste cycle continues. There have been improvements but a lot remains to be done.
    Food waste collections, for instance, would transform bin waste to plastic material only and would reduce bin volume by a large percentage. There is precious little done today.

  • Comment number 47.

    #42 leafyshin wrote

    'One question I do have about plastic recycling...

    If the problem is that there are too many types of plastic used in food packaging, why don't manufacturers start using less types? It seems like an obvious solution.'

    I fully agree with you on this one, I look at my total plastic use and shudder every time I look for the Recycling Symbol on the bottom. 50% of the time it there, but when it's there, only 50% is either a 1 (PETE) or 2 (HDPE). the remaining types are not accepted by our local council for recycling, so it goes into the general household waste along with the remaining 50% unmarked plastic.

    Very poor show indeed!

  • Comment number 48.

    john hcrf wrote:

    " we send a lot of waste to china"

    Yes. This is where plastic packaging and bottles are made in the first place. So, we send the some of the plastic back to China (or Taiwan, Korea etc) and they (in theory) recycle it into new bottles.

    BTW, you can keep your milk bottles cool in the summer with a "Milk Minder", a rigid plastic (!) box that the milk sits in until you are ready to collect it. My mum has had one for about 25 years.

  • Comment number 49.

    Melting down a plastic bottle is still a waste, when all it really needs is to be washed out.

    Why can't big supermarkets who sell a lot of milk just dispense the stuff in bulk? One press of a button would dispense half a litre or a litre from recessed nozzle (so no risk of contamination), into customers' own containers and print out a bar code to be scanned at the till (like the deli counter). Suitably-decorated vacuum flasks, in various sizes, could be sold from next to the machine for people to fill there and then.

    Remembering to take your milk containers back would eventually become part of the shopping routine. (Or do people often forget to take their wallets and keys with them when they go to the supermarket?)

  • Comment number 50.

    Isn't this just robbing Peter to pay Paul? Surely the offset of waste by using the milkman is balanced out by the extra energy needed to power his milk float! Or are milkfloats charged by electricity magically plucked from the ether nowadays?

  • Comment number 51.

    The rather sccint summary of this piece of 'grey and on the fence journalism' is.......

    from a carbon and life-cycle analysis perspective plastic bottles are significantly better than glass.

    It's a fact lost on the general public today in their uneducated pursuit of a nice warm feeling that they are 'doing their bit'. They just dont get that plastic is actually very carbon efficient and by far the most environmentall appropriate material to be using.

    More facts and less sensationalism would not go a miss.

  • Comment number 52.

    #49 ajs_dy

    You're sort of right on the idea of rinsing out a bottle for use, unfortunately HDPE (the material used for milk bottles) isn't suitable for treatment with a temperature of water that would be required to clean the bottle sufficiently. It works with glass because it resists heat so well.

    What generally happens when recycling is that the HDPE is made into chips, then transported to the point of reuse where it can be reblown immediately prior to use, thereby cutting down on transportation of empty bottles. Apparently, many milk plants have bottle blowing facilities so they receive bulk loads of raw material, blow the bottle, then fill it and despatch.

    Just wanted to point out that glass bottles on a doorstep delivery are generally transported in plastic milk crates, but as this is classed as returnable transport packaging (RTP) I can forgive anyone not picking up on it.

  • Comment number 53.

    Idontmuchbut said that people don't get that plastic is "Carbon Efficient"

    That's fine if it's re-used or recycled but not if it's used once then chucked into landfil, which over 60% of platic bottles are.

  • Comment number 54.


    So the answer then to achieving carbon reduction [in milk packaging] is keep using plastic bottles and keep driving participation in recycling of them.

    Simple really.

  • Comment number 55.

    I had milk delivered for several years, and as an American ex-pat found it charming, despite the fact that the milk seemed to go off far quicker than supermarket milk. I finally had to let go of the tradition when every other delivery was nicked by some lout coming home from the pub thinking it was hilarious to deny me my morning coffee.

    Had the deliveries been in the early morning rather than just after midnight each night, both situations might have been avoided I think.

  • Comment number 56.

    I recall that plastic bottles can transmit exterior chemicals into liquids contained within, water was tainted with small quantities of chemicals that passed through the plastic. Why milkmen never examined the possibility of milk being affected in the same way puzzles me, it could have led to a bigger revival of the glass milkbottle, after all it is a far greener product to use as the bottle is collected and reused on a regular basis. With the cost of oil it might be more economical to use glass as it has a longer life cycle than Plastic.

  • Comment number 57.

    I remember when my Mom stopped taking deliveries from the local milkman. It was sometime during the summer of 1995, when for week anfter week it was so warm by 8am that the milk which had been sitting on the doorstep since 5 or 6 was already too far gone to out on one's Cornflakes.

    Within a couple of years everyone else on our road had started getting their milk in the big 2-litre plastic cartons from the town's shiny new Tesco (killed our little centre dead, did that) and the milkman stopped coming.

    According to that findmeamilkman site I can register for home delivery, but where I now live (an inner-city suburb) it's probably not the birds draining my pints I'd have to worry about but the local teenagers or other opportunists removing them from their prominent position on my top step.

    Like regional ITV, British Rail and commercial radio stations that closed down at 10pm, daily milk deliveries belong to a much more innocent age that whilst not that far in the past time-wise now seems a million miles away to those who remember it.

  • Comment number 58.

    "after all it's a far greener product".....

    Am I talking to myself here?
    Plastic uses more than 20% less carbon the glass, period.

    How is glass greener?

  • Comment number 59.

    # 52, jo_mojobanana :

    Well, I'm expecting the customer to deal with the issues :) Instead of having supermarket refrigerators filled with single-use containers, sell bulk product and indefinitely reusable containers. They might have to be made from something besides HDPE.

    # 58, idontmuchbut:

    A glass bottle gets reused about 25 times. So are you saying that the energy requirements for making one single-use HDPE bottle are less than 1/25 of the energy requirements for making a glass bottle and then cleaning it 24 times?

  • Comment number 60.

    we have just re-started using our local milkman

    why? because he now delivers in 4 pint HDPE (re-cyclable plastic) containers

    I don't want a huge collection of glass bottles on the doorstep for the kids (mine) to kick over, but a more usefull size delivery (4 pints) in a re-cyclable container is good news :-D

  • Comment number 61.

    #59; you seem to be assuming the the glass bottles are the same size as the HDPE containers

    your 25 use glass bottle = just 5 HDPE 4 pint containers, which are all re-cyclable if people would just try

  • Comment number 62.

    # 61 OK, fair point. A glass milk bottle is 0,568L as opposed to up to 2L for a plastic container.

    But for every plastic container that gets recycled, two end up in landfill. And barring extreme measures, that isn't going to change overnight.

    Have you factored that into your maths?

  • Comment number 63.

    I wasn't doin the math thing, you were

    but I would like to point out that not 100% of glass bottles are re-used either

  • Comment number 64.

    And here's me thinking tits were milk producers rather than consumers.

  • Comment number 65.

    just to make a comment about the link provided on the story about milk bags: Milk bags have been the main way of selling milk here in eastern Canada for decades and safe to say the bags don't leak like the unfortunate one shown in the clip. Moreover, there is no fancy milk holder with lid and clips to puncture the bag. Just a plain holder with handle and optional lid; one uses a pair of scissors to cut an opening in the bag, small if you like a bit of milk at a time, a big hole if you pour a lot.

  • Comment number 66.

    In some towns near Milan, Brescia and Bologna there are milk vending machines on the side of the road. It's basically "milk on tap" - you provide the bottle/container, put in a coin and fill it up. Unfortunately I don't live anywhere near one of them, but it must be handy for those who do!

  • Comment number 67.

    #59: Glass recycling rates are staggeringly low for such an established waste stream. Why?

    I think it's primarily because most councils will not collect the containers at kerbside. Instead they put in bring bank's and ask the public to bring them back. This would appear to be the flaw in the whole plan, the public actually having to conciously do something for themselves.

    You see we are all inherently lazy. We expect things to be done for us. Collect it at kerbside and the rates are through the roof. Ask people to drive to a bring bank and rates suddenly dip. I wonder why?

    The driving to the bring bank argument also raises the same dubious eco-science behind shipping the glass around the country to be recycled. All environmental benefit can be lost when driven for just 100 miles to a recycling plant. Imagine the extra road miles going in each year with people shuttling loads every week down to the bottle bank. Imaging how sensible it would be to actually collect it on the doorstep municipally and then locally recycle it. Imagine such an innovative solution.......

    Hang on, that's plastic bottle collection and recycling isnt it? WOW, we already have the answer.

    A 4pt / 6pt container, that then gets collected and recycled back into another 4pt / 6pt container that's 20% lower carbon than glass has to be a great idea. Yet we all queue up to knock it just because we believe because it is plastic it must be bad. Well how misinformed and misguided can we be......

    It's made of plastic - stone it!

  • Comment number 68.

    Plastic milk bottles have other benefits. They are generally squarer in profile than standard glass bottles and a 2 pinter is only marginally larger in size than a 1 pint glass bottle. This means transport and stocking is more efficient.

    I once read a statistic that if you waste even as little as 5% of the milk in a plastic carton, you waste 95% of the energy that's gone into making the product.

    I think the supermarkets have a huge duty to educate consumers. I suspect the vast majority, even if they do separate their waste for recycling as a matter of course, are unaware which plastics are accepted by their council. This should be backed up by minimising which plastics are used, as well as proper labelling of plastics used in packaging. This is happening.

    My approach these days, as someone who works as a packaging technologist, is to stick to widely recycled materials and to minimise the amount that ends up in the home. This means that heavier duty secondary packaging, which should be returnable and reusable. I find more and more that this is happening, it's just a slow march. Milk is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Comment number 69.

    #65 herrpanzer

    The Canada milk bag. Sainsbury tried to offer this over here. Can the plastic bag be recycled or is it 100% landfill? If it is landfill bound it will be a non-runner over here.

  • Comment number 70.

    When I was a child, the milkman brought round the milk in the metal pail into which the cow had been milked. I wouldn't drink it if wasn't fresh - i.e. still warm.
    Moving to London, I got used to having milk delivered in glass bottles; but we stopped the deliveries here after the milkmen ceased taking any notice when we wanted to change our daily order.
    So it's plastic bottles from the supermarket. Brent council will recycle the bottles, but not their caps.

  • Comment number 71.

    #69, johnhcrf

    It could be a biodegradable bag, or PLA (although not sure how these interact with milk). I'm sure Waitrose have it too, but I doubt their penetration of the market could match what Tesco could do. Interestingly, Sainsbury's do chopped tomatoes in a Tetrapak, which are now becoming more recylcable.

  • Comment number 72.

    most biodegradable films / pouches including PLA have no resistance to moisture. No good for milk then.

    Interestingly PLA is derived from gentically modified corn starch. Do you want GM derived film round your GM-Free foods?

  • Comment number 73.

    Part of the problem is that the Government are not getting tough on the subhuman filth who knowingly put recyclable material into landfill.

    They need to be rounded up and shot.

  • Comment number 74.


    Bit strong, but I take your point.

  • Comment number 75.

    #73 ajs_dy

    The problem is drift in Big Government and Local Government.
    The first thing is to establish universal standards applied in every council area.
    Secondly, clear unambiguous instructions and information for householders.
    Thirdly, Incentives to recycle / bin volume limits.

    There would be a period of adjustment but the result would be a resilient system. Feedback would be used extensively to fine-tune procedures.

  • Comment number 76.

    I'm not convinced about milk in plastic bags, they have them in Poland and the milk tasted horrible, the UHT stuff was better! I'm sure the milk is better for you in glass, it's just so much more expensive from the milkman.

  • Comment number 77.


    Milk Bottles, Plastic Bags, Wheely bins and incinerators; all passionate after dinner topics.

    Roberts and Chang is fairly inaccurate as its based on a outdated 6% coefficient (C0MEAP now realise a 28% coefficient is realistic for CODP with sulphate PMs), which is a total underestinmate. It's a concentic ring study rather than an upwind / downwind study of real mortility data. The study doesn't even compare variability in particle size or toxicity. 12 similar paterned infant mortality around 12 modern EfW/CHP suggest more than garbage in/ garbage out modelling. Google AdvancedPlasmaPower

    Holland,Denmark, Germany, Sweden, don't have incinerators because local people want them. Speaking to quite a few residents and greens in Stuttgart, they had little liking for burners. They are there because large waste companies want them and the European Investment Bank bankrolls them, 69% of its waste investment portfolio in fact. Greens in Holland are beginning to regret their burner cavein, as better more efficient technology arrives.

    Another way of looking at Denmark is its shot its residual waste bolt and is stuck with 29 burners for 2-3 decades.

    I'm not ambiguous about technology; as a moral and precautionary compass I beleive is required. However, like AdeJones I'm a supporter of gasification, but gasification with plasma secondary treatment called GasPlasma, which is a much cleaner process without the end chars. This has fully proven components bolted together, plant in Swindon.

    It was funny in Norfolk when the county asked people whether they supported deriving energy from waste 70% said yes. Later, when they leant EfW was used to mean an incinerator with added filters/turbnes; 90% went off the idea after the local paper explained it. EfW is a misused term as, in CHP, and means more fully Anaerobic varieties, Gasplasma,Plasma gasification, gasification and pyrolysis. So many people say lets look at energy/gas/heat recovery; but not with an "I" mass burner. So when someone asks above EfW being the best technology; ask them "which one" and does it have a 60+m chimney stack?

    My agenda: EfW/CHP is an OK concept; but without the old incinerator technology bit with filters/turbine bolted on behind it. CHP has to have a better net energy efficiency than 30% which rules all incinerators out. So AdeJones I think your wrong supporting /condoning incinerators tarted up, guised and spun as EfW; but on the right lines with Gas from Garbage (albeit plasma cleaned)!

    A good passionate topic though.

  • Comment number 78.

    #77 - An interesting reply.

    Firstly, I use EfW in its generic term here. As a large part of my current role is as a new technology bod, I'm fully conversant with *all* the technology options out there. Currently, the UK experience with APP consists of a single lab-scale unit at a site in Oxfordshire. Not commercially proven. [This is about to change - I know of an innovative development in Wales adopting the technology. I have great hopes for it.]

    I have no real issue with all the EfW technology, as it will all do a job acceptably. My issue lies with efficiencies. To meet the desired Waste Framework Directive revision efficiencies requires that you adopt a CHP or heat-only solution - which then drives you down a simple selection process. Mass burn EfW for heat only remains in the mix, as it can meet these efficiencies for heat only plant. Also in the mix are gasification for CHP and pyrolysis for CHP - although pyrolysis brings more issues with it if you use a turbine (tarry gas) than if you use an engine, and hence your CHP options are more limited with a pyrolysis plant. But still possible.

    Scale is also an issue - the only way to meet our aspirations of the 'best of a bad job' - which aptly describes optimised EfW of a non-recyclable residual - is to scale the plants to meet the heat use of the end users. Which ultimately means small-scale plants attached to industrial users.

    Following such a model, you end up with a much better overall environmental, social and economic impact than with todays landfill-based default. Not just my conclusion, but one which has been modelled repeatedly using the WRATE modelling tool.

    BTW - I've discussed mass burn plants in Holland with local residents living next to the plants. They don't have a problem with them. An interesting bit of psychology - the emission from the stack (mainly water vapour) is visible. In the UK, stack temperatures are kept elevated so there is no visible emission - if one appears, people complain and think that it is smoke, and hence toxic. Out there? They run a visible plume as a matter of course. If the plume disappears? The locals ring up their local municipality to ask why the EfW plant isn't working, and where their tax dollars are going...

    They are not a people uncomfortable with the concept of EfW. With a 100 years of history in using the technology, and no viable alternative, they've grown to live with it.

  • Comment number 79.


    I disagree somewhat about EfW/CHP alternatives. In our neck of the woods we've already kicked out EfW mass burn, and have a Advanced MBT approaching financial closure, producing EfW. Locals are extastic. If you live in Thornton/Leyland, Lancashire we share this EfW alternative. CHPincinerators can only handpick 10% recycling front end, whereas MBT+AD is up to 27% mechanically. This as a real hierarchical issue, withstanding the heat sideshow drivers.

    The next contract is PFI AD referenced for CHP with Plasma Gasification same US/Welsh company , AMBT and Autoclaving with AD companies (6x) being involved. Only 3 incinerator interests. Plasma Gas/AD vars qualify for 2ROCS, EfWmass burn doesn't make any ROCs. I think CHPincineration is singleROC, via the WFD incinerator messup/Jackson fudge.

    APP now have a working plant at Swindon, Wiltshire and is looking for the 100,000Tpa commercial financial close by the end of 2008. Are we 2 years away from CHP incinerator BAT obselescence?

    My issue with scalability is the WDA's wish to look at the one plant solution rather than the modular scaleup possibilities.

    Many people have issues with WRATE input/weightings, and doing the black box thing. Morals or precaution are not two of its inputs either!

    The steam issue is spurious, I agree, however PM2.5s,PM1s UFPs, one can't visually see them being emitted at filters take the larger visual PM10-PM4s out at 99% efficiencies. This is currently an area of huge but in progress research in many EU countries, and also referencing the new EU 2015 PM2.5 air quality direction

    With regards to residual CIWM officers and Defra Demo team I have a problem with them sitting back, accepting "best of a bad lot"incinerator soft bidders and "the mix, technology newtered" attitude; and not pushing for Gasplasma/Plasgas for all its worth. They have a chance of 1%; they are still settling for 4% fly ash, and I don't know currently how we stand protocol with on 20% IBA and chars?

    In terms of efficiencies Eunomia's work is a good baseline AdeJones of which you will be fully aware. I just question how any CHPincinerator will squeeze out more than 28% net efficiencies (via turbines, heat clients), when one is looking at double RoCs residual AD vars/ATTs performing via gas engines at 40%+?

    Its like station commanders in WWII on the verge of spitfirehood, saying, "I'll settlle a few more hurricames, sopwick camels, bolton pauls, swordfish- they all fly (WRATE)and fire bullets (CHP); and settling for less, for 25 years. Perhaps I'll get spitfires in 2 years when someone elses squadron has flown them. No I think settle for the upgraded swordfish out of the mix for 25years, thats been up in the air fully proven since WWI." NB CHPincinerators are no spitfires, not even hurricanes where Gasplasma/PlasmaGas,AMBT Energos type gasification might qualify in this on 2ROCs regards.

    Dutch, poves with the appropriate Gobbels like bainwashing and EfW guise and spin people fall for Brown washed Green. People in Nottingham have had WRG CHPburners around for 20 years, the fears, the anger of council ambivalence of their local wishes and would jump at the chance of of something better and not an incinerator.

    A little away from HDPE milk bottles.

  • Comment number 80.

    #72 - idontmuchbut

    "Do you want GM derived film round your GM-Free foods?"

    I don't know enough about GM to make an informed comment, but as this 'project' (valid or not) is all about avoiding plastic, I was looking for alternatives only.

    To be honest, I think we should concentrate on getting what is easily recyclable, like HDPE bottles, up to high recycling levels, like 90%, before adding more materials into the mix. I think this serves to confuse the average consumer, rather than enable them to make an informed decision. It's called choice editing - taking away the totally unsustainable options for consumers.

  • Comment number 81.


    I totally agree. HDPE should be (well it is) the milk recycling standard.

    What would also help, is HDPE bottle , bottle tops could be collected/recycled and standardised as coloured HDPE; rather than PP/PVC variants.

    MFRs should standardise IR scanning or tail end to capture capture HDPE bottle tops.

    The advice currently is sketchy from different WCAs; some do, most don't, or ambiguously say "tops should be removed". Is this just from the bottle, but OK in recycling, or is it removed, removed to go to landfill?

    Thats a few billion red/green/ blue bottle tops?

  • Comment number 82.

    #81 - robius3

    Not sure if you're allowed to post links, but here goes. Re: bottle tops - the revolution is starting.

  • Comment number 83.

    Plastic bottle recycling plants have the ability to separate the coloured HDPE lids from the natural HDPE bottles and both materials have a financial value and reliable markets.

    So if you leave your tops on, they and the bottle will get recycled.

  • Comment number 84.

    Part of the point of doorstep delivery is to have milk delivered every day or at most every other day, in which case if your milk lasts long enough to go off you are buying too much milk.

    All this discussion about the best way to transport and store milk could be avoided if people didn't buy into the idea that it's so necessary though...

  • Comment number 85.

    We used to have all of our milk delivered by the milkman in glass bottles but it's become so expensive (and is now being delivered in plastic containers) that we now buy half from the supermarket to reduce the cost.

    I still have the romantic notion that the doorstep delivery is a very necessary service for some sectors of the population who may otherwise be very isolated and vulnerable, but I suspect that those very people couldn't afford the milkmans prices.

    I paid my milkman £4.20 for 7 pints today and could get double that amount of organic milk from the supermarket for the same price.

  • Comment number 86.

    Great debate one and all.

    I'm keen to try to do the right thing with all sorts of environmental issues.

    I have milk delivered to avoid nipping to the shop (in a car) and spending more money overall on impulse goods. The milkman deliveres in 2pint plastic bottles at about 6am. Perfect for me - can stick one in the freezer if I happen to be overstocked.

    I love the idea of dispensers in supermarkets and wait for the Co-op to be the first to pick up on this excellent idea. Any contamined milk is your fault for not washing bottles properly, etc.

    13 years ago visited Toronto and friends had beautiful handmade earthenware jugs to hold milk bags. Snip off the corner - no 'top' to worry over, easily stored in fridge door etc.

    Can a milkman bring along a tank, as well as some bagged milk, to combine the ideas? If we put out a thermos they can fill it up and barcode it? And horses still work, even in the year 2008!

  • Comment number 87.

    I know the blog is about plastic, but might this focus be distracting us from an equally important issue, the environmental impact of the milk itself? That is summarised in a UN press release "Livestock a major threat to environment" 29 November 2006. It can be read here (if I'm allowed to include a link):

  • Comment number 88.

    Milk in a bag is pretty common here in Canada. It's a good option for people who need to buy large amounts of milk, but don't have the fridge space to store huge cartons of it. Plus, the little bags of soft plastic are easier to break down. I'm not sure if the powers that be are thinking of switching to cornstarch plastic.
    Also, someone posted a comment suggesting that grocery stores allow people to decant their own milk. As long as sanitation requirements are met, I think it's a pretty good idea. An Italian deli in my neighbourhood does that with it's olive oil and balsamic vinegar - I'd imagine it cuts way down on glass and plastic containers.

  • Comment number 89.

    Here in Ontario Canada we purchase milk only from the supermarket and it comes in cartons of humungous size or or a set of four clear 1 lite pouches inside another plastic overwrap. Only the cartons are recyclable.
    Most things here seem to come in very large packages which of course leads to more wastage.
    There is no concept of on-line supermarket shopping which I found my best tool for buying only what I needed and also not using the car shopping journeys. Something about ordering in peace and quiet I expect and being able to pop nito my kitchen to check supplies Anyway back to the point.. they thought I was mad when I talked about milkmen and doorstep deliveries!!

  • Comment number 90.

    Chris ,
    Great stuff to read
    have to remember that only 4% of oil goes to make plastic and because milk has a high carbon footprint you dont want to spill it .
    recycling is the solution and plastic bottles the answer .
    milk in glass at the doorstep goes off quicker therefore wasting milk
    milk in cartons , which is rare, are difficult to recycle
    milk in bags is difficult for old people and kids who drink a lot of fresh milk and it all goes to landfill
    milk in plastic bottles is recylable and recycled but still not enough
    lets concentrate on recycling plastic bottles!

  • Comment number 91.

    Blue tits don't peck the tops of milk bottles any more. There are a several inter-related reasons for this:
    - almost all milk now is homogenised so the cream does not separate out at the top. The energy content of milk is low and does not justify the effort in pecking through the lid
    - the low level of doorstep deliveries means that availability is reduced, meaning extra effort to locate bottles which is not justified by the return (see first point)
    - this also gives less opportunity to learn the skill in the first place
    But old habits die hard, which is why my neighbours who still have milk delivered leave containers to cover the tops of the bottles.


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