1879: Milk is sold in glass bottles for the first time in the United States. It's a clear improvement in hygiene and convenience.
Until that time, people bought milk as a bulk item, with the seller dispensing milk out of a keg or bucket into whatever jugs, pails or other containers the customers brought. That practice left a lot to be desired on the cleanliness front. Some dairies tried offering milk in fruit jars, perhaps because customers had started bringing the resealable containers to them to be filled.
Source :Domestic Geek Girl
Because milk has a short shelf life, consumers used the contents quickly and returned them when they went to the market or when fresh milk was delivered to their doors by milkmen. The typical milk bottle made 22.5 round trips in the early 1900s before getting broken, lost or diverted by consumers to other purposes.
The loss of bottles – as well as the expense of returning them to the bottling plant, washing and sterilizing them – contributed to the eventual abandonment of the glass bottle. Producers and consumers were also concerned about the health implications of transporting fresh milk in the same trucks right next to empty, unwashed bottles. This eventually led to the extinction of glass in milk bottles. But now, it seems that the trend of buying glass milk bottles is coming back.
One of the reasons is plastic pollution. The UK has gone plastic waste mad these past few months, with measures to tackle plastic pollution featuring prominently in news outlets as the Government makes them the cornerstone of its environmental plans.
The result has been an increased awareness of plastic pollution among both businesses and consumers, with several companies making widely publicized pledges to cut down on plastic packaging. The switch from plastic to glass bottles certainly fits into this trend.
The other reason is the influence of top rated TV show Blue Planet II. That smash hit series featured many scenes showing how plastic pollution is killing life in our oceans.
Julian Harrison, Managing Director of Mortons Dairies, said: “Since the series was aired we have seen a massive increase in orders from new customers who are specifically requesting glass bottles. I think people are hearing and seeing the impact pollution has on our environment and are deciding to do whatever they can about it.
Another milkman has claimed he is experiencing a surge in demand, thanks to programmes like Blue Planet II raising awareness about plastic pollution. Keith Adams, a milkman from Yorkshire, said his clients are fed up with drinking out of plastic bottles and attributes part of his success to David Attenborough’s nature documentary. Glass milk bottles, which can be reused up to 25 times, are far more green than their plastic counterparts. And Keith claims his customer’s environmental awareness is one of the driving factors behind his success.
It is evident that the problem of plastic pollution pertains in India too. Although there's been no shift from plastic bottles to glass bottles, if the trend goes on change will be seen in India too.