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A whole lotta bottle

mens-vintage-milkman-costumeThe traditional milkman with his electric truck and the clinking and clanking of milk bottles in his cart could be making a comeback. The reason for this apparent about face is all about our over use of plastics and a desire to return to the traditional glass bottle for milk.

The current generation probably cannot remember a time when part of the daily routine for most households was the early morning arrival of a fresh bottle or two of milk direct from the milkman. Nowadays it’s the convenience of stocking up at the local supermarket that has largely replaced the milkman.


Some traditions, however, sometimes find a way back and the current moves to reduce radically the use of non or hard to recycle plastic bottles means that glass bottles, which can be washed and reused an average of twenty times are making a startling comeback. Industry body Dairy UK has seen a staggering 25 percent increase in the use of glass bottles over just the last two years.

These glass bottles are beginning to find their way onto supermarket shelves alongside the plastic variants and are increasingly becoming the container of choice for a large number of consumers. The milkman may not become a regular sight across most of the United Kingdom again, but in some areas, particularly rural South and West Wales and some parts of East London the culture of the milkman and his deliveries continues.

The campaign to use glass bottles instead of plastic won the enthusiast support of one of the world’s largest manufacturers in 2016 when dairy giant Muller bought the old Hanworth Dairy in South West London. They pledged to save its glass bottling and delivery service which had been marked for closure. Since 2016 Muller has established their Milk&More service providing 600,000 customers with a doorstep delivery service using glass bottles.

The only downside to the return to glass bottles is to be found in the cost. An average plastic bottle of milk will cost around 50 pence whilst one in a glass bottle will be around 70 pence.

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