In just 12 weeks of operation two guys have saved 700,000 plastic milk bottles from being produced and Te Awamutu locals now have the chance to get their own whole milk without using plastic.
With a strong sustainability focus, owners of Kaipaki Dairies John Heskett and Riley Chick have started dispersing a milk tap system that allows consumers to receive a better quality whole milk without creating any waste.
"Something had to change," says John.
"We didn't want to just be another milk supplier that uses plastic bottles."
The pair developed their own milk tap but then discovered Edward Crick's The Udder Way stainless steel milk tap and immediately got onboard with the Tasmanian-based business.
A number of cafes and shops are already using the milk taps and just last week one was installed at Fresh Choice Te Awamutu.
The milk tap is in the supermarket's produce department and customers can either bring their own one-litre glass bottle to fill up or buy one for $4. A litre of milk is also $4.
John says that if looked after properly, the glass bottles can last up to five years.
"We're giving people the opportunity to have a whole product while saving plastic as well, that's how it should be," says Riley.
By the end of next week Red Kitchen will also make the switch from plastic milk bottles to a Kaipaki Dairies milk tap and milk for their coffees.
The guys have created an operation that generates no waste at all, right from production to packaging and through to dispersion.
They even call their factory a reusable one.
"Everything that gets sent out will come back to be cleaned and reused," says John.
They deliver the milk to their partners in 18-litre kegs and when all the milk is used from the keg they go and pick it up, leave a new one and take the other one back to the factory to be cleaned and reused.
Over its lifetime, one keg will save 7000 plastic milk bottles from being produced and they have just introduced their one hundredth keg.
"Not only is the packaging reusable but the customers using their glass bottles to fill up [is] eliminating single-use plastic from the distribution and from the consumer," says John.
The milk they use is supplied from a 600-cow farm on Kaipaki Rd just two minutes from their factory that uses a stage five feeding system to ensure the cows are healthy.
"His [the farmer] cows have got the right nutrients and food to keep them going, keep them strong and keep their immunities up. That's what he focuses on, he's a very passionate farmer," says Riley.
Once the milk gets to their factories it goes through a simple but strict process. It's first heated up to kill any bacteria and then it is cooled down for bottling. That's it.
The product they end up with is fresh, tasty and non-homogenised meaning it's got none of the nasties processed milk has.
The guys are only at the start of their journey with Kaipaki Dairies and sustainability; they have plans to develop other products like cream, ice cream and yogurt and within three years John says they hope to have 2000 kegs circulating - this will save 14,000,000 plastic milk bottles from being produced.