Customers call for the return of glass milk bottles
By Lyndsay Oxley - Reporter
THE traditional glass milk bottle could be set for a full comeback after an award-winning dairy was inundated with requests by customers wishing to cut down on their plastic waste.
Acorn Dairy, which delivers organic milk to doorsteps across the dale, has received hundreds of requests from customers who want to receive their daily pinta in returnable glass bottles instead of the recyclable poly cartons.
The increase in demand comes after a screening of the BBC’s Blue Planet II, which highlighted the dangers of manmade debris in the world’s oceans.
In just one month, 250 customers asked to switch back to glass bottles, once a common sight on doorsteps.
At roughly 106g of plastic per average weekly carton milk order, this equates to 1.378 tonnes per annum of plastic waste saved by these Acorn customers alone.
Acorn Dairy co-director Caroline Bell said: “I think we were all horrified by the pictures of whales surrounded by plastic waste and the impact this is having on our world.
“The response from our customers has been heart-warming showing the large impact that can be made by households taking their own individual action.
“We handle almost one million glass bottles a year.
“An average Acorn Dairy glass pint bottle is used 19 times before being recycled and we have to buy in around 17,000 annually to replenish our stocks,” she said.
“In our local delivery area we supply the glass bottles at 59p to the doorstep. We have seen a four-fold increase across a month in new customers with the same mission of receiving their milk in glass bottles.
Ms Bell added: “These are local people converting from supermarket milk to ours, which is excellent.”
Businesses in the dale are also ditching the plastic. Headlam Hall is one of the dairy’s commercial customers which has also made the change as it maintains a keen eye on its environmental impact while looking after guests.
The dairy, farm at Archdeacon Newton, near Darlington, has been in the hands of the Tweddle family for the past 90 years.
Four generations down the line, brother and sister duo Caroline Bell and Graham Tweddle now operate the dairy with the help of their parents Gordon and Linda Tweddle.
Having become organic in 1998, they have since revived the tradition of doorstep and wholesale deliveries across the north east and North Yorkshire.
Acorn Dairy currently has a loyal following of 4,000 doorstep customers, schools, cafes, restaurants and supermarkets, including Waitrose and Morrisons.
The dairy’s herd of shorthorns offers a natural rate of milk production which is less than in an intensive farming system, allowing the cows to live longer, happier and healthier lives.
The animals are allowed to graze outside naturally in the spring and summer months. Young stock is also raised on site with lots of human care and attention.
Acorn Dairy is a past winner of the Tye Trophy for the Tyne Tees region from the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. This accolade recognises the efforts made to operate a successful business while conserving the environment and boosting animal welfare. It is also a holder of the organic Oscar issued by the Soil Association and the Good Dairy Award by Compassion in World Farming which is the international welfare campaign group.