First they took on the big dairy companies, now the South Australian Fleurieu Milk Company is helping us to leave single-use plastics behind with an exciting new retail initiative
Did you know that single-use plastics account for half of the plastic produced in the world annually? That’s almost equivalent to the weight of the entire human population and, with only a small percentage of it being recycled, it mostly ends up in landfill. Obviously some single-use plastics – such as those produced for medical use – are necessary, but most are simply handy to have. As the world comes to grips with the now obvious massive problem their disposal presents, we are gradually being weaned off the convenience of many day-to-day plastic products.
Way back in 2010, one of the very first local food producers I ever wrote about on this site was a small family-owned dairy company, who had made the bold move to step away from the giant dairy producers and launch their own brand. Since then I’ve watched the Fleurieu Milk Company grow to become a significant player in the dairy business.
This year, in another bold move, this still family-owned company is about to take HUGE steps to move us further away from problematic plastics. In partnership with the Tasmanian-based The Udder Way, a company committed to tackling the problem of single-use plastics head on, they have announced an exciting new initiative that will change the way retail consumers purchase milk.
Beginning in October 2023, after 18 months of planning, consumers will be able to purchase Fleurieu Milk Company milk from a dedicated milk pump in various retail outlets, using their own refillable glass milk bottles.
Using custom-made 18 litre kegs, the milk will be transported to retail outlets point of sale. The stores will, in turn, return the empties to Fleurieu Milk for sterilisation and refilling. These plastic kegs have a 10 year lifetime, eliminating over 7,000 single-use plastic bottles in that time. At the end of the lifetime of the keg it is melted down, then made into another keg – the circle of life!
Glass bottles and all hygiene information will be available from the retailers at the point of sale.
This initiative has been quietly rolled out here in Australia in a very few places in NSW and Victoria, and is already in use in New Zealand and has been well-received. “Australian customers are totally ready for something like this”, says a Fleurieu Milk Company spokesperson.
From early October the on-tap milk will be available from The Fleurieu Milk Company head office and their stall in the Adelaide Central Market, the Adelaide Farmers Market, Willunga Farmers Market, select Drakes Supermarkets, and a range of local cafes. Keep an eye out to watch the list of retail outlets offering this service grow – I have no doubt this is going to catch on fast.