From tomorrow Waitrose supermarket will begin selling milk in a new form of “environmentally friendly” packaging: the reusable jug and plastic milk bag are to be launched in the UK.
Whilst the supermarket is heralding this as the start of a new form of environmentally friendly consumption, in fact, this is not the first time that the scheme has been attempted. A similar project was tried and abandoned by Sainsbury’s six years ago. Nonetheless, proponents are keen to point out that we are now in a supposed new age of customer environmental concern and awareness. The milk bags use seventy-five percent less packaging than the plastic milk bottle and furthermore, it is estimated that if in the UK such milk bottles were entirely replaced by the pouches, one hundred thousand tonnes less plastic waste would arrive in landfills. If the Waitrose scheme succeeds, it will be extended nationwide – currently it is due to run only in seventeen branches in London, Bath, and Wales. A jug will cost £1.99 and an organic one litre milk bag will be 91p.
It will be interesting to see whether the British customer will be willing to take action. Will the prospect of burst bags and tricky pouring dissuade otherwise loquacious promoters of environmental friendliness? However, Canada already uses bags for forty percent of its milk consumption, and India and South Africa do not lag far behind.
Is organic bagged milk in a jug a gimmick or revolution? The other supermarkets will no doubt be watching carefully.