In a win for the environment and nostalgia, a South Australian dairy company is introducing refillable glass milk bottles, with their farm fresh product available on tap from a growing list of suppliers this month.
Teaming up with Tasmania's The Udder Way, Fleurieu Milk Company is offering the new service as part of its focus on minimising environmental impact.
Fleurieu Milk Company general manager, Nick Hutchinson, said the company had been trying to work out a way to bring back the glass bottle and create a more sustainable way of processing for a few years.
"You hear a lot of stories about how families used to have glass milk bottles delivered, and the glass milk bottles for breakfast at school, but obviously the world moves forward," he said.
"Glass is risky and thorough processes must be in place - putting glass through our current processing plant creates a risk of physical contamination.
"That's why when we discovered The Udder Way, our ears pricked up pretty quickly."
The Udder Way's 18 litre milk kegs can safely store and dispense Fleurieu Milk so customers can now enjoy Fleurieu Milk Company's product in refillable 1L glass bottles.
Through the new refillable milk bottle program, the company estimates one 18L keg of milk will eliminate nine 2L plastic bottles and over the lifetime of one keg, Fleurieu Milk customers will eliminate the need for 7000 single use plastic bottles.
Bottles can be filled at the Willunga Farmers' Market, Adelaide Showground Farmers' Market and the Central Markets, selected Drakes supermarkets, and a growing list of suppliers across Adelaide and greater South Australia.
To participate in the program, customers make a one-off purchase of an approved Fleurieu Milk glass bottle, then the customer brings their bottle to a Fleurieu Milk supply point, where they can have it filled.
They pay for and take home their milk, and once the bottle is empty, they clean the bottle according to supplied instructions, and repeat.
When an 18L milk keg runs out, Fleurieu Milk Company collects, cleans and refills it with milk, before returning the keg to the retail customer for the process to repeat.
"We are very proud to be launching this circular economy project as part of our business model, where customers can play a role in conserving resources and reducing waste," Mr Hutchinson said.
"From protecting the clean, green and pristine farmland on the Fleurieu Peninsula where our cows graze, to simple choices we can make at home to lessen our impact on the world around us - conservation of our environment is something we as a business and as community members are committed to."
The Udder Way's keg systems are HACCP internationally certified food grade kegs, which are free of bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalate plasticisers, and are recyclable.
Fleurieu Milk invested in a quarter of a million dollar upgrade of equipment at its Myponga factory for the project, with engineering and food safety teams designing their own keg cleaner.
There are 25 keg systems currently installed.
Businesses or organisations interested in being part of Fleurieu Milk's refillable milk bottle program can contact the business.
Milk in plastic bottles will still be available to purchase.
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