Milk deliveries and me: a #WasteNothing Challenge win

By Katie Bowden

If you’re a milk drinker, having milk delivered in reusable bottles is one way to significantly reduce your household’s packaging waste. In this blog post Katie Bowden, a participant in Bristol Waste Company’s #WasteNothing Challenge, describes how she has reduced her family’s waste by opting for deliveries. 

Two years ago I took on Plastic Free July, and as anyone attempting to reduce their waste will know, it can take up a lot of your spare time! The extra organisation required for meal planning, refilling and finding your closest and best-stocked low-waste stores between working (and raising young children) quickly becomes overwhelming. I started Bristol Waste Company’s #WasteNothing Challenge in April, which is all about significantly reducing the amount of waste I produce. I feel I am still nowhere near succeeding the challenge set!

Having fresh milk delivered was the first quick and simple change for us in reducing our household’s single-use packaging. Indeed packaging reduction is a large part of Going For Gold’s ‘Buying Better’ actions and if you’re making efforts to reduce waste in this way you can log it on the Going For Gold website. Getting a milk delivery is an action that organisations can also sign up to as part of Going For Gold.

We use Milk & More for convenience, although there are other options if you are looking to support a shorter supply chain. All companies offering deliveries in Bristol are listed on the Going For Gold website.  I buy four pints of organic whole milk in glass bottles a week, which is a little more expensive than the supermarket (25-30p a pint more), but I offset this by buying less than I usually would, and cutting down on our dairy consumption as a family. We have two small children who drink a mixture of plant milks and dairy and get plenty of calcium rich foods in their diet so we don’t have a huge weekly milk bill.

As with the majority of waste-reducing services and items I now use, such as a local veg box, washable nappies and wipes and reusable sanitary wear, I love that it’s one less item to worry we are running out of. You can change your order up until 9pm the day before and add any holidays easily on the online account. I have found their customer service helpful when milk hasn’t been delivered due to staff sickness and I love the cream that settles on the top of the milk bottles in the early morning – perfect with my first coffee of the day! Milk & More also provide the option to buy orange juice or yoghurt in reusable glass jars if you’d like to reduce your waste further.

When there has been a rare week when I have used more milk than planned, I have found opportunities in the Bath and Bristol area to refill my own bottle with fresh milk from a dispenser. The ones I know of are Long Ashton Post Office, The Better Food Company Bristol at the St Werburghs and Whiteladies Road shops (not at Wapping Wharf), Bath Soft Cheese Company in Kelston and the lovely Green Park Station Market in Bath on a Saturday morning.

Of course living and purchasing sustainably raises many questions on which items are the most environmentally friendly when looking at their entire life span. Glass milk bottles are used an average of 15 times, but sometimes up to 50 before they are deemed too scratched or damaged. It is important that glass bottles are never kept (or broken before collection) so that their lifetime is as long as possible. It seems that milk collections are on the up too, as this BBC News article reports, along with some other perspectives on the issue.

Katie Bowden is a Psychology and Counselling student and mother of two daughters aged one and four. She is participating in Bristol Waste Company’s year-long #WasteNothing Challenge, which puts 50 households to the test to see how much they can reduce the waste, with the ultimate aim of going zero waste.

Join the conversation

So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.

* Required field

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Our Sponsors