A reusable milk keg could see the average New Zealand café eliminate up to 10,000 single-use milk bottles a year.
The Udder Way is launching in NZ to coincide with World Milk Day on June 1 – which this year focuses on how the dairy industry is reducing its environmental footprint.
The Tasmanian company has joined forces with Waikato-owned and -operated Green Valley Dairies, which is filling the reusable milk kegs in NZ with organic and non-organic milk.
Each The Udder Way keg holds 18 litres of milk and has a lifespan of at least eight years before being recycled and turned back into kegs. This allows the average café to eliminate 7000 to 10,000 milk bottles a year.
Green Valley Dairies general manager Mark Pulman said the innovative milk kegs are unlike anything he has seen before and are a big win for the dairy industry, hospitality sector and the environment.
“This is the most exciting reusable packaging solution we have come across. It’s great to have an alternative option that’s specifically designed for both the dairy and food service industries, with all the relevant certifications. We’re also proud to be playing our part in helping our customers reduce their environmental footprint.”
The idea for the reusable milk kegs came to The Udder Way founder Ed Crick while he was running three cafes in Tasmania.
“We were going though almost 30,000 plastic milk bottles a year, which really concerned me. We were making the effort to use things like sustainable coffee cups and meanwhile our bins were overflowing with plastic bottles.”
The former tradie started dreaming up ways to eliminate the need for single-use plastic milk bottles. In 2021, he launched The Udder Way in Australia, with the mission to eliminate 100 million single-use plastic milk bottles globally every year.
“Two years on from launching our kegs in Australia, we’re now removing around 1.6 million milk bottles from waste a year. With more and more business coming on board every day on both sides of the Tasman, we anticipate that number to triple by the end of 2023,” Crick said.
Daily Bread is one New Zealand business that has signed on to use the kegs.
“We’re always looking for ways to reduce our environmental footprint, so the decision to change to The Udder Way milk kegs was a no-brainer. It’s actually amazing! The kegs are easy to use, take up less space than milk bottles and create much less waste at the end of each day,” Daily Bread manager Emily Hancock said.
The Udder Way kegs can be connected to existing milk dispensing units or a simple tap system can be provided, allowing baristas to easily pour milk without the waste and clutter of plastic milk bottles.