I have been scouting for a local diary farm so that I could buy milk in my own container and stop bringing in plastic milk cans. I feel guilty about the grocery store plastic milk can every time I have a cup of tea or gulp down a spoon of home made yogurt.
My friends who buy milk (including Soya) in cartons aren’t doing the planet a favour either. Plastic lining and the lid section on the terta pack and even other biodegradable raw materials which went into manufacture of these cartons are to be given a thought, in terms of their necessity and impact.
Until a few years ago, milk men delivered bottles filled with milk and used to take back empty bottles to the dairy/delivery centers.
In the eastern world, even today, we have a milkman delivering milk to our door step. He measures out portions for every household and pours it into our own containers. I would like to share a very nice video about a milkman from Punjab from youtube. In a way, reducing food miles and green choices were/are a part of everyday living with people in this part of the world. ( Simply put, food mile is the total distance traveled by every morsel that reaches our plate and its impact on the environment.)
However, the scene is changing for the worse. With each passing day, this naturally eco-friendly population is leaning towards a non-green lifestyle.
There are milk co-ops and large scale dairy companies which sell plastic (Sic!!) pouches or tetra packs. These small prepacked portions are delivered door to door or at local distribution stations every morning. Although these options are not very green, they exist. There are a few organizations working on helping the dairy industry making earth friendly options.
During one such research, I chanced upon this website which provides a list of Diary farms in the US, which sell their ware in eco-friendly glass bottles. (ah! so much like the old times!!)…I was however disappointed to see that none of the diary farms in the state of Georgia were a part of the list…The website, aptly called Mindfully.org, has provided a list under the segment. here: Dairies Using Glass Bottles for Milk in US
One of the eco-friendly alternatives to plastic cans and tetra-packs would be milk vending stations at grocery stores or public locations. Milk would be supplied to these location from local dairy farms and dispensed into containers we carry from home.
These vending machines could be set up by local diary farms and there by reduce food miles. Is this a far fetched thought, not at all. It is very much with in reach of retail chains to set up vending facilities and there by promote local dairy industry and enable supply of fresh milk every day or atleast alternate days. What we need is more number of people in the corporate decision making teams to work on feasible eco-friendly alternatives and think beyond sales figures and return.We as consumers need to think and make wise choices..We have to strive not to leave a claustrophobic planet for our children to live in….
An old proverb always holds good…Long term vision and gains always weigh more than short term returns…