Big River Milk embraces old-school glass bottles

In a move to ‘right the wrong’, a NSW dairy farm is seeking funding to ditch disposable plastic bottles and return to glass.

The milk industry produces billions of single-use plastic bottles and to counter this waste issue Big River Milk is looking for funding to offer is customers fresh milk, delivered fresh to the door every day, in re-washable and refillable glass bottles.

“We were really hit by the Australian ABC show ‘War on Waste’. It made us start to think about plastic in the supply chain and how can we get rid of it,” said Peter Watt of Big River Milk. “We use around 500,000 bottles a year, and we’re only a small producer. It’s mind boggling to think how much plastic goes into the system.”

Big River Milk says the move to an old-school milk delivery system will not be easy or inexpensive but feel the move away from plastic is worthwhile.

“We really didn’t fathom just how many changes that we would have to make to our systems. From the bottle cleaning machines, right through to upgrading the weight rating of the trucks that deliver our milk – it’s all got to change,” Watt says.

Big River is a small dairy farm on the Clarence River in New South Wales and it has projected a budget of “a little over $400,000 to fund the change-over” with half of the funds already available.

The rest of the money will be accessed by pre-selling milk home delivery subscriptions online as well as using a crowdfunding site to get like-minded people to help met the target.

Consumers who live between Tweed Heads and Port Macquarie can purchase a milk subscription on but supporters anywhere can visit Indiegogo.

“The starting point is the removal 137,520 plastic bottles per annum out of the supply chain. If we replaced every plastic bottle from our supply chain it would be 500,000 bottles per year,” Big River Milk says. “If we can encourage other independents by showing what is possible it could be 100s of millions of bottles each year.”