Milkman resurgence as drinkers ditch plastic for ‘nostalgic’ glass bottles

Shoppers are conscious about environmentally friendly ways of consuming diary products.


The war on plastic waste could spark the return of the neighbourhood milkman as figures show demand for milk in glass bottles is on the rise. In 1975, 94% of the UK’s milk was transported in glass bottles compared to just under 3% in 2016 – but that could soon change.

Milkmen are reporting a rise in demand for traditional glass bottles with consumers appearing to boycott the plastic alternatives, which took over the market in the 1990s.

Steve Hayden, of Parker Dairies in east London, said the company has already picked up 100 new customers in 2018 – most of whom wanted their milk in glass bottles.

He said it was down to “tradition” and “nostalgia” but also because the bottles are returnable and better for the environment.

“One of these bottles makes at least 20 trips before it breaks,” the milkman of 30 years. “It takes them back to their childhoods.” Another milkman has even resorted to refurbishing his disused milk float to cope with orders.

Home deliveries in the UK are up to about a million a day, according to Dairy UK, which represents the Britain’s milk industry.

Brad Davidson | OG