Friday, 30 January 2009

More than just milk

At Woolies Foods about two weeks ago I noticed that they've changed the packaging of their long-life milk. Instead of the common 1-litre Tetrapak box, they've changed to a plastic milk bottle-like container. In doing this they've scored another regular customer... for their long-life milk at least.

What do I have against Tetrapak containers? They're are difficult to recycle; in fact, I don't know that they can be recycled because of their multiple layers, which are fused? in any event there's no recycling symbol on them. As for these plastic bottles... they go straight into my plastics tub. Easy. The power of environmental consumerism.

"Consumers operate in an impersonal market economy where they make choices unburdened by guilt or social obligations; they just have to be able to pay. But a typical global community consumer see himself/herself as part of a larger whole that is affected by a collectivity of individual consumption decisions and has to question the global integrity of purchasing a product, and will decide not to purchase at all if the integrity is being challenged."

Talking about milk... do you remember those glass milk bottles and the battery-powered milk trucks that used to deliver milk early every mornings. I probably last saw one in the early-80s. I used to go with my great aunt (grandmother's sister) to the local milk shop. She would get a "chain" of those blue, round, plastic coupons - they had a hole through the middle. She would leave the appropriate number out for the milkman, with the empty bottles from the day. He would replace the empties with bottles of fresh milk.

Perhaps we'll go back to glass bottles at some stage? You can take your bottles back to the shop when you do your groceries. They could then give you a return coupon against your next purchase of fresh milk - like getting your deposit back on glass colddrink bottles in the old days. It's would be like taking your material shopping bags with you to the store. After a while you don't think about it, you just do it.


Unknown said...

here in my little town of Hartford, Vermont, USA, we have a small produce store that sells mostly local veggies and other products. i love to shop there! At any rate, they sell milk from local farmers in glass bottles. (the milk is in the bottle, not the farmer). if you bring the bottle back, you DO get a discount on your next milk purchase. pretty cool.
mostly all of our stores over here sell re-usable shopping bags, too. do you have those?

adventurelisa said...

Vermont is certainly progressive Bigzig ;) I like it.

Yes, we do have re-usable shopping bags and we have to pay a minimal amount if we want regular plastic bags (they used to be free). This aims to reduce the amount of plastic bags that end up as litter and in landfill sites.

What really surprises me is that I still see loads of people not taking their re-usable bags to the shops with them. Sure, sometimes you just run in for a few things and forget your fabric bags - but to do a big shop and walk out having paid for 8 plastic bags...

This bring-a-bag-with-you-or-pay-for-plastic system has been in place for at least 2-years (perhaps more... I forget when it started). I guess some people just don't care. I do.

Unknown said...

we haven't gotten to paying for the plastic bags, but we get a few pennies off for each re-usable bag. nice to see that things are balancing out. race on! gene

alvin said...

Growing up, we also had the milk coupons that you put out with the glass bottles in the mornings. And if you didn't fetch your refill soon enough, the neighbour’s cat would pull off the little silver tops, and throw over the bottle, to get to the milk :-)