Glass bottles are making a comeback at Hohepa Hawke's Bay.
Founded in 1957, Hohepa provides meaningful employment and residential opportunities for those living with an intellectual disability through its organic and biodynamic farm producing vegetables, cheeses and milk.
"We've been active in that space for a long time," marketing manager Neil Kirton explained.
The small boutique dairy operation produces about 400 litres of milk per day from a herd of about 50 cows.
However, the one-litre plastic bottles used to sell the milk seemed a bit of a contradiction, Kirton said.
It's seen them move to using glass bottles instead.
"We always knew we had to get out of plastics if we could.
"We've been looking to switch to a much more sustainable means of packaging our products for a while.
"It's a lot more sustainable and friendly on the environment."
From Friday, all milk sold at their farmers market stall or from their Clive-based store will come in a one-litre glass bottle.
These empty bottles can be returned to Hohepa and swapped for a new full one, while the empty bottle is sterilised and put back into circulation.
Kirton said it had been "a mission" to find the glass bottles, eventually turning to a company in Italy.
He was conscious of the environmental footprint associated with this and was hopeful of eventually finding a New Zealand producer.
"We are looking right through the supply chain.
"We're working through the same issues with our other products, like the plastic wrap on our cheeses."
Switching to glass bottles has also allowed Hohepa to increase production, from being done mostly by hand to a bottle filler which can do six bottles at a time.
"It's still pretty modest," Kirton said.
"We may need to step up production and get more people involved. The biggest issue we have at the moment is supply."
He expected demand from the public to grow once the glass bottles became available.
He said the enterprise had been an exciting opportunity for engagement and for the team to try new skills, with some finding their fit in bottling and distributions and others in sales.
"They have been great. Our guys have really taken to this."