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16 February, 2007

Milk bags

Not a euphemism, but a serious alternative to standard plastic or plasticised/waxed paper milk cartons.
These 'rapidly' biodegradable bags aren't a new invention – apparently 65% of fresh milk sold in Canada is bagged – but it's good to see Welsh dairies I happen to recognise leading introduction to the UK.

Milk cartons are a bit of a problem: the waterproofing in paper-based cartons prevents them being recycled as either paper or plastic (Norwegians are encouraged to crush and insert them into another empty carton, then burn the result as fuel) and empty plastic cartons are bulky items to transport for recycling.
The bags take up negligible space when empty (a 90% reduction in landfill volume is cited), can be disposed of in landfill, and biodegrade fully within nine months. I wonder if that means they'd be suitable for domestic composting too.

There's still the commercial/environmental cost of bag production, of course, so I hope they're not proposed as a replacement for near-endlessly reusable glass bottles in doorstep milk deliveries, but for the supermarket or corner shop sectors, this sounds very promising.


That 65% figure might be out of date. Here in Vancouver, I haven't seen milk in bags in at least 10 years. Too bad, too - we used to slit open the tops of the empty bags and use them to freeze leftovers. Two (or more) uses are even better than one!

Posted by Jon. at February 16, 2007 07:07 PM

I'm surprised we don't make greater use of deposit bottles in Britain - rather than simply throwing the bottles away, return them to the shop (for a small reward) where distributors can pick up the empties, clean them and re-use them. After all, those distribution vans will be empty by the end of the round - might as well use up their empty space, and it'll mean that the glass/plastic doesn't have to be melted and reformed which saves energy.

I understand we used to do this quite widely in this country but we've regressed into a throw-away culture. It's a pity really.

Still, this degradable bag idea sounds good; I also read today in the Observer that the makers of Innocent Smoothies are trialling a plastic bottle that composts fully in 6 weeks.

Posted by Neil T. at February 18, 2007 04:53 PM

This is a good idea, as it saves the environment from all the landfills blocking up with plastic cartons, and better than the glass bottle, as they to have to be washed with chemicals, which is bas dor the environment, and costs.
Definatly this is the way forward in life, it will net be long I hope untill the whole of UK will catch on to this fantastic milk bags.

Posted by Alwen at April 18, 2007 01:08 PM
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