The Return of the Milkman & Why Glass Bottles Make Environmental & Practical Sense

return of the milkman

Most of us over a certain age remember a simpler time when early mornings consisted of the musical hum of the milk float and a clink of a bottle as the milkman brought us cold fresh milk for our corn flakes. But with milk deliveries all but disappearing during the 80s and 90s as supermarkets took on the milk supply, it was quite a surprise to learn that in 2018 the milkman is making a welcome return to our doorsteps.

Anyone with children will know that milk consumption can be insane – at times we get through between 8 and 12 litres a week. And one thing was for sure, we were constantly running out! The most frequent text between my husband and I is always, ‘Can you get some more milk on your way home please?’. Not only did this mean extra trips to the shops when we inevitably bought more things than we needed, but with fortnightly collections, we also ended up with a huge stash of plastic milk bottles waiting to be recycled.

I then had two separate conversations about milkmen – now then ladies! :0) And I was delighted to discover that they have made a welcome return to our lives! Best of all – you can get the milk in GLASS BOTTLES!!!  Milkmen do deliver in plastic bottles too, in organic and non-organic form, but there is, of course, more than one issue to address here. The main thing was, I could get a regular delivery of milk, directly to my doorstep!

Excited by this discovery, we quickly checked out our local milk delivery service via the Find Me a Milkman website, operated by Dairy UK. Where I live, Milk & More provide doorstep deliveries not only of milk, but also of other essential groceries such as bread, juice, cheese, and yoghurt – all sourced from trusted local British suppliers.

We were, of course, delighted to find out that we had a milkman called Brian, and that he delivers on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Happy days!

This is Not Brian! :0) But hopefully you get the point…

The cost per litre of milk is slightly more expensive than buying it from the supermarket. However, some things in life are just worth a bit more of an investment. Enjoying fresh milk on your doorstep first thing in the morning is a huge benefit as far as this family is concerned.

And there is more than one reason to return to the days of the milkman…

  1. It saves us numerous trips to the supermarket where we are likely to buy more stuff than we need.
  2. Even though the vast majority of milkmen operate from the same large company, this is providing someone local with employment. Farmers will also be receiving a fairer price for their milk than the supermarkets will be giving them. And the milkman is also a valuable member of the community with a unique eye on the more vulnerable people in society.
  3. We get to enjoy glass bottles! Apart from the environmental factors, they are indeed a thing of glassy beauty, evoking a feeling of nostalgia as they appear on our doorstep, symbols of a simpler time.

Now Back to Those Bottles. Why Are Glass Milk Bottles Better than Plastic? 

As with all things environmental, there are two sides to the story. Many will say that the lighter cheaper plastic has the edge on the more weighty glass which is more expensive to transport and environmentally heavy to produce. But with technology evolving in every sector, the balance in our opinion almost certainly goes down in favour of glass.

Although glass is very energy intensive to produce requiring heating to very high temperatures in the process, improvement in production techniques mean less energy is being used in the glass industry thanks to heat recovery and renewables. Added to that, the overall lifespan and processing just make far more sense!

So let’s take you through the three Rs!

  1. REDUCE : The ultimate goal has to be reducing the amount of plastic that we use. Using reusable glass bottles certainly ticks that box.
  2. REUSE :  The humble glass bottle can be used around 25 times – the plastic bottle is to all intents and purposes not reusable at all, and is in fact single-use!
  3. RECYCLE : Of course, both plastic and glass can be recycled, but a glass milk bottle is recycled on average around 20 times and can be recycled as many as 50 times. Also, the average glass milk bottle in the UK has about 35% of recycled glass already in it. Glass can ultimately be recycled infinitely, whereas plastic can only be recycled a certain number of times before the structure of the plastic can’t be recovered.  And, when the glass does reach the end of its life, it is inert – meaning there will be no damage to the environment after its disposal.

Overall the bottom line is that re-usable glass milk bottles are a more energy-efficient choice than disposable plastic.

Of course, you can get plastic bottles in much bigger sizes, meaning you have fewer bottles. But glass bottles will be collected and delivered several times a week. You will need to store your plastic empties for much longer depending on the frequency of the recycling collections in your area.

And have you ever considered who pays for all that recycling? Recycling is paid for by YOU, through the taxes you pay to your local authority. Although the plastic milk bottles are widely recyclable that’s an awful lot of your local services budget being spent on recycling milk bottles which could be spent elsewhere. Your glass bottles will be cleaned, reprocessed and reused by your milk supplier.

We are completely converted to our doorstep milk deliveries and we’ve even invested in some lovely Moopops – a handy modern invention to keep them milk bottle sealed and your milk fresh for as long as possible. Of course, we clean and recycle the original foil milk bottle tops (make sure you scrunch them all together so they don’t jam the recycling machines), although I distinctly remember making an astronaut picture out of some when I was a child! Not to mention Humphries! Watch out, watch out, there’s a Humprey about!


Photo courtesy of Moopops

Doorstep delivery only stands at around 3% of the market at the moment – please help us to increase the awareness and the benefits of doorstep deliveries and push that figure up by sharing this article! 


To find your milkman, simply check out:



Follow Waste Not Want Not on

One Response to “The Return of the Milkman & Why Glass Bottles Make Environmental & Practical Sense”

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>