Demand For Less Plastic Creates Opportunity For Today’s Milkman

by Rudy Sanchez on 12/03/2019 | 2 Minute Read

Before the post-WWII economic boom, morning deliveries of moo juice was the way most Americans and other western consumers received their daily dairy. Every morning, wagons filled with customer orders would stop at homes along their route, dispatching milk and cream in an efficient, unintentionally sustainable way, born out of a need to deliver fresh dairy to those lacking what was then a luxury — modern refrigeration.

For one Scottish milkman, the recent shift in conscious consumerism and the growing plastic pollution crisis has created an opportunity for his profession to return to relevancy. Ayrshire-based farmer Bryce Cunningham decided to take a stand against single-use plastic and start offering milk from his 55-cow dairy in reusable glass vessels. Although Cunningham is taking on the additional expense to provide his milk more sustainably, he feels obliged to set an example for the good of the environment.

“It is more expensive to produce milk this way because we need to employ a washer to clean the returned bottles and plastic cartons. But the idea of using glass and cutting out single-use plastic fits with what we want our business to stand for. We want to be more aware of waste and our environmental footprint,” Bryce told the UK news outlet The Guardian.

The Scots have a way of being particularly principled, and Cunningham’s new eco-endeavor makes it’s Scottishness known by printing the portrait of the nation’s poet onto glass jars in a lo-fi, punk rock, Anthony-Bourdain-would-probably-be-impressed kind of way. The reusable bottles bear the face of renowned poet Robert Burns, a scribe who shares a connection to the Ayrshire region as well as being a writer whose work brought light to the common man, thus gaining the reputation of being the Ploughman’s Poet, giving a voice to those that work the land that provides for us all. 

Likewise, Cunningham’s plastic-free delivery milk delivery serves to highlight the burden facing the latest generation of farmers; the task of reversing the damage done by plastic on the land they depend on for income and the rest of us depend on for food.

Supermarket milk in plastic packaging won’t soon be supplanted by efforts like Bryce Cunningham’s, but it signals interest and desire from consumers for more sustainable options, something that the seas between us board, that have been roared since days long ago, sorely need.

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