What is your preference when it comes to milk? Skim, 1%, 2%, whole? We prefer 2%, slightly creamy and not watery, just right! When is the last time you considered the container that your milk comes in? It’s usually just something that we grow up doing, choosing either a plastic jug or the cardboard container. Which do you prefer?
Plastic milk containers are pretty easy to recycle- just rinse with some water and throw in the bin- but they are a big plastic item and take up a lot of space in the bin. Some families go through A LOT of milk too so they could really take up a chunk of space. You can squish them down, but it would be nice to eliminate them all together. And just because recycling is available, that doesn’t mean everybody will do it.
Plastic milk jugs also don’t help us redirect the problem of more and more plastic entering the environment and the fact that we are using a non-renewable resource to create the product. According to the Washington Post, “[w]hile plastic bottles can be melted down and made into new bottles, none of the milk containers in the United States are actually made from recycled material” because of contamination concerns. So more and more new plastic is made for milk jugs in the U.S.
Milk cartons are also pretty easy to recycle- if your local facility does it, some still do not. They are a step above plastic milk jugs since the paperboard is made from trees, aka a renewable resource. However, there are layers of plastic and, in some, aluminum, which makes recycling more challenging (recyclecartons.com).
So what should we do? Go buy cows for our backyards?? No, we don’t have to become the farmer, but we can become our own milkman!!
One option that has been gaining more popularity lately is the glass milk bottle. Not only is it cute and nostalgic, but it is better for our environment. Glass has its pros and cons, but I think in terms of being green it is the winner! Glass is heavier, breakable, and does take a lot of energy to make initially, but it is made out of a plentiful resource- sand and other natural materials- and it can be sterilized and reused for the same purpose. If it does break, glass can be recycled.
At my grocery store, I can buy milk from a local farm in a glass bottle. They have a neat system set up. When you buy the milk for the first time, you pay a $2 deposit for each glass bottle purchased. Once you drink the milk and need to go get more, you just clean out the bottle and bring it back to the grocery store. They give you a $2 credit for the milk bottle you brought back that you can use toward more milk or your other groceries. The milk bottles the grocery store gets back can be reused! We love Autumnwood Farm Milk!
Do you think this is something you could add in to your routine? What are some of your thoughts or hesitations? Consider being your own milkman and reduce plastic in your home!!