A nationwide plan to put fresh milk dispensers and reusable glass bottles into grocery stores kicks off today, following calls from shoppers for milk brands to ditch plastic bottles.
Lewis Road Creamery launched the initiative after receiving multiple requests from shoppers asking for a return to glass.
"The plastic problem really worries our customers," Lewis Road Creamery founder and CEO Peter Cullinane said.
"Two years ago we switched to 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles but we've always wanted to do more, so this is another step in the right direction."
Auckland shopper Jenny Bramley said taking a glass bottle to fill at the grocery store was no different to taking a reusable bag.
"I got in touch with Lewis Road earlier this year letting them know my dream of being able to get milk in glass bottles. I've gone to a lot of effort in the past to buy milk in glass, including taking my own bottle to the farmgate. So it's great that finally there is a much more convenient option and to know I won't be adding to the plastic mountain," Bramley said.
The milk dispensers will initially be installed at Farro stores in Auckland before being rolled out nationwide in other premium grocery stores.
"We know that refillery stations work brilliantly at small farmers markets around the country, and we really want to see that same responsible approach at a more mass market, urban level," Cullinane said.
Listen to Jamie Mackay interview Peter Cullinane on The Country below:
With around 23,000 tonnes of plastic milk bottles entering New Zealand's waste stream annually, Lewis Road said anything that can be done to reduce this amount of plastic waste was a positive thing.
The milk dispensers are supplied by New Zealand business Glass Bottle Milk & Co and customers can buy a one litre screw top glass bottle for filling from the dispenser located in-store.
"We are always looking for new ways to offer shoppers more sustainable shopping solutions and, like our friends at Lewis Road, we have received many requests from our customers for milk refill stations like these," Farro CEO Bryce Howard said.
"A trial of the milk dispenser in our Grey Lynn store has been really well received by our customers so we are looking forward to having more dispensers in more stores for more of our customers to access".
The reusable glass one litre bottles cost a one-off $4 and each milk refill of Lewis Road Creamery Organic Homogenised milk is $4 per litre.
Milk refill stations are currently available at Farro in Grey Lynn, Constellation Drive and Epsom with more stores soon to follow.