Why switch from plastic milk bottles to glass milk bottles?

by | 22 Dec 2020


Milk in Glass Bottles

One of the simplest eco swaps to make is the swap from milk in plastic bottles to milk in glass bottles. 

Gone are the days when we all had fresh milk in glass bottles delivered to our door each day before sunrise, instead we automatically reach for the milk during our weekly ‘big’ shop at the supermarket, and top up with a pint or two at our local shops in between. Many of us wouldn’t consider a milk delivery for a variety of reasons and it’s not the first eco swap that comes to mind, but it is so easy to do and so much better for the environment than milk in single use plastic bottles. 

The stats on glass bottles versus plastic bottles make this swap a no brainer so I’ve noted down some of the main points to consider.

Glass is 100% recyclable – glass bottles are 100% recyclable and can be used over and over again without losing their quality or purity. 

Glass milk bottles are re-used on average 25 times before being broken down and recycled into new milk bottles. 

Glass is made from readily available natural materials as well as recycled glass which means each bottle you use will end up being made into another bottle.

Glass is inert and non-leaching so the milk won’t contain tiny particles of plastic (microplastics) or the potentially toxic additive chemicals (chemicals added to the plastic polymers during the plastic manufacturing process) that have been found to be present in plastic bottles of milk. 

Glass keeps the milk fresher for longer as the properties of glass are able to preserve and not interfere with the product the glass bottle contains. Plastic contains chemicals that can change the chemical make up of a product if exposed to extreme temperatures of left for too long.

Are Glass Milk Bottles better than Plastic? 

On average a plastic bottle has the carbon footprint of 82 grams compared to a glass bottle which has an average carbon footprint of just 6 grams. This difference is huge and the glass bottle doesn’t end up in landfill unlike a plastic bottle.

But I recycle my plastic milk bottles I hear you say… One of the main arguments for the continued use of plastic that we keep being ‘fed’ (generally by those who profit from producing the vast amounts of single use plastic) is that it can be recycled. But did you know that only 9% of the plastic produced across the world has actually been recycled? 

We also don’t get told that plastic can only be recycled a finite number of times before it ends up in landfill. ‘Virgin’ plastic can generally only be recycled up to 7 times and each time it is recycled it is downgraded until it can no longer be recycled so it is destined for landfill where it will sit for at least 500 years if it hasn’t made its way into the ocean.

There are so many variants of the types of plastic used in our everyday products that yes ‘technically’ the plastics can be recycled but in reality many plastic products are almost impossible to recycle.  

So hopefully having read these stats of glass versus plastic you might be thinking about how to make this easy swap and get your milk in glass bottles and you’ll be pleased to hear that this is surprisingly easy. A lot of dairies still provide milk in glass bottles and a lot of milk delivery services still deliver this milk. In fact, over the last couple of years there has been a big increase in the demand for milk in glass bottles which has led to an increase in milk deliveries  across the country which makes this eco swap even easier. 

A simple internet search will narrow down your local milk delivery services. Some services are still phone based and you’ll need to call them to be added to the round, confirm the cost and confirm your order but this will only take 5 minutes. Others services are online based and you can set up and begin managing your account within a matter of minutes. 

I’ve tried a number of local milk delivery services over the last couple of years and the level of service and range of products has varied quite widely. When you find one that works for you it is a very convenient simple and eco friendly swap to make. 

I changed delivery service provider recently as my previous milkman seemed to have stopped being a ‘morning person’ and wasn’t delivering our milk until lunchtime! Our new milkman is great and the milk is on the doorstep at 5:30am. They also offer a large amount of products in glass (including oat milk, yoghurt, cream and fresh juices) which we have started using. This has further reduced our plastic consumption and we put the empties out with the empty milk bottles for collection and re-using making it even more of an eco swap.

Try making the eco swap from milk in plastic to milk in glass today to achieve a little more greenness, it’s so easy, so convenient, better for you and so much better for the planet.

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