Likeminded Business: The Glass Bottle Milk Co

Feb 24, 2021

New Zealand's plastic bottle usage is off the charts, and with over 100 million milk bottles used per year by Kiwis, the guys at The Glass Bottle Milk Co have a courageous plan.

Here, Co-Founders Matt and Jack take Compostic through their overall mission to get Kiwi's moving back to glass milk bottles.

Jack and Matt
Can you tell me a little bit about your overall mission?

The Glass Bottle Milk Co was started with the express purpose of saving plastic from entering the environment. We all know about plastic's widespread and harmful impact around our planet and how detrimental it is to both our health and our ecology, so we decided to pursue a business which had a core goal of stopping plastic from entering the environment altogether.

We knew that recycling was not the silver bullet that some hope it could be and that a fundamental change in behaviour is needed. Glass is almost infinitely reusable and is able to be recycled with no loss of quality, so that became the answer for us.

Why was Glass Bottle Milk Co started?

We started thinking about The Glass Bottle Milk Co after coming across a statistic showing that Kiwis purchase nearly 200 milk bottles from supermarkets every minute. That's 288,000 bottles a day and over 100 million bottles a year.

Combine that with the knowledge that around 30% of these are getting effectively recycled and you quickly realise the size of the problem demands action. Our machines utilise a plastic bladder, which saves 82% of the plastic of a milk bottle, and are easily recyclable by our retail partners. In an ideal world we would be 100% plastic free but providing a safe product is important to us and our refillers.

What success has it had recently?

Our biggest success lately has been seeing the amounts of re-use growing steadily.

Prior to us starting, the only thing a consumer at a supermarket had to bring with them was a reusable bag and we were unsure how people would react to having to bring their bottle back with them each time, but we have been hugely impressed and really grateful for the consumers who are repeatedly refilling. It's a confidence boost and really shows us that what we are striving for is connecting with the public.

What impact could you envision Glass Bottle having in the future?

The vision we have for the future is to have a machine in every supermarket around the country.

We believe that it should be a choice available to consumers everywhere. Plastic should not be the only option people have, so its customer choice that we are really striving for now. Being optimistic-realists we know that making everyone change their ways is going to be hard, but if we can get even 10% of people swapping to re-use, we would be removing over 10 million plastic bottles from circulation.

What is one-way readers can help support Glass Bottles vision?

Readers can get involved by heading to our current retailers: Farro Fresh, Robinsons Vegan Deli and The Source Bulk Foods to get amongst the refill movement. Grab a bottle, fill it up, enjoy that however you like and then head back to refill again.

Let's move away from this linear approach and bring a circular revolution to all types of milk. That is our dream.

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