The Cottage Smallholder


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Milk pouches

Photo: Jugit jug and milk pouch

Photo: Jugit jug and milk pouch

We recycle our plastic bottles. These are collected every two weeks and by the end of this period the large sack is bursting with 4 pint plastic milk bottles and a few fizzy water bottles. If we keep the sack outside the house it’s a palaver going outside to chuck in an empty bottle but if we keep it in the kitchen it becomes a dominant intruder that always seems to be toppling over.

On Sunday I was shopping with my mum in Waitrose, Cambridge and my eye fell on a pile of milk pouches. In fact I’d been attracted to the word Free on a sign beside the squishy pillows. If you bought a pouch you could claim a free Jugit which is also 100% recyclable when the time comes. These normally cost £1.99 and are a reusable container designed to hold a milk pouch. The pouches use 75% less packaging than a standard 2 pint plastic bottle so are super environmentally friendly.

So I bought 3 pouches to go with my gift of a jugit jug. We like the system. The jug fits neatly into the fridge door. The milk stays fresh. The pouches are much easier to store than large plastic bottles of milk.

Even though the pouches are cheaper than the equivalent 2 pint bottles that Waitrose sells this is not cheap milk. You can find much cheaper milk in Netto and Tesco. But not pouches.
“I’m going to get some more pouches in Newmarket.” Danny announced.

A quick check on the jugit website revealed that Newmarket doesn’t stock the pouches. They are also available from selected branches of Sainsbury’s but the two branches closest to us don’t stock them either. So we’ll be getting them every other week when I go shopping with my mum. And the large plastic recycling sack will be much easier to keep in line.

I reckon that the pouches need to be quite a lot cheaper for them to take off. As they use only 25% of ordinary packaging there must be massive savings on this front. Ecologically they are a great idea but at a time when household budgets are stretched they need to cost signifaicantly less than an equivalent bottle.


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30 Comments

  1. Having also tried the Jugit method, we actually bought a different jug, cut the pouch and poured it in, as we simply couldn’t stop the jugit one leaking milk every where, every time it was tipped up to pour. Our Sainsbury’s stocks the pouches, normally on a “buy 2 save 5p” kind of offer. I think in the intervening years these have become more wide spread in availability, just thought I’d comment along the lines of “don’t give up if it spills from the pierced pouch, just adapt it!”

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Sam

    Thanks for dropping by. You make me feel that I ought to flag down the local milk van. If it’s the same angry guy then goodbye but if it’s a new man – hello.

    Hi S.O.L.

    Yes there are jugs. Different ones in Cambridge and Newmarket branches. Both without spikes but quite efficient.

    We’ve decided to only buy bags even if the Newmarket ones are organic and cost 20% more.

  3. S.O.L.

    http://www.mad.co.uk/BreakingNews/BreakingNews/Articles/f5318d1facea42e3ad61fecc8a91aa31/Vibrandt’s-milk-jug-proves-a-hit.html

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article4093351.ece

    So apparently they sell the4 jug in the supermarket but not with the spike?

  4. hiya,
    we too bit the bullet a couple of years ago to pay those few extra pence a week to have a milkman. it is a luxury, but also education for the children, less recycling, less waste, fresher produce and keeping a local man in a job! the children think it’s great as we also have fresh apple juice in a glass bottle too. it would be good if the price came down a bit, but i guess what i’m spending on fresh milk now i used to spend on petrol going to the recycling centre.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Cathy

    Duhhhh!

    Thanks for the sensible advice.

    Hi Steve

    Good that you are getting great results with your pork belly. When we were forced to switch to free range the scales fell from our eyes. It didn’t even taste like meat – it was nirvana – full of a range of flavours that almost had Danny weeping with joy. I could taste it too.

    I’m much more excited about your smoking. Great news. We have a free range belly curing in our fridge as my fingers fly across the keyboard. Can’t wait for Saturday and that first slice of home cured, smoked bacon.

    In the past I would never have dreamt of eating streaky bacon for breakfast. Now I relish the thought. Even non free range is delicious!

    Hi Sara

    Yes there are still milkmen delivering bottles. Apparently a glass milk can be reused 40 times before it has to be recycled. I was surprised by this – I thought they would go on forever.

    Hello Lindsay

    It’s expensive. It’s cheaper than the equivalent two pints in a plastic bottle at Waitrose but I do think that it needs to be much cheaper to take off.

    We are enjoying the less packaging end of things in the cottage. And with the prospect of less landfill we will buy these pouches when I see they’re available.

    Hi Jackie

    I didn’t know this. I’m attracted by the cheaper packs of milk so thanks so much for the information.

    Hello Magic Cochin

    Steve’s comment was scary.

    It’s now pouches or glass bottles for me. I love writing this blog it’s a real learning curve most days. Thanks for dropping by.

    Hello Elrohana

    Well done and lucky you. I must investigate the diaries around here.

    Hi Linda

    Thanks for the feedback. Ours haven’t leaked yet.

    Hello Helen

    I’d love to have those glass bottles again. About five years ago a milkman did call and ask if we’d like milk. He was so aggressive when I wavered that I said NO.

    I’m now fired up to make enquiries about doorstep deliveries. If it’s with a friendly man I’ll say yes. If it’s the angry guy I’d rather walk five miles to Newmarket and bring back the pouches in a rucksack.

    Hi Pamela

    Danny was tickled by your comment.
    “Mini grow bags are a GREAT idea!”
    Yes they are. So thank you.

    Hello John

    I popped into Waitrose this evening and discovered that they are now selling organic milk pouches and a different sort of jug!

    The non recycling of recyclables is very depressing.

    Incidentally I’d love to have a peek at your blog but your link doesn’t go there. Is it not up yet?

    Hello Kate UK

    Our council is the same. Just 1 and 2 plastics.

    Returning the packaging to the supermarket is a great idea ?

    Hi Joanna

    Yes freezing would be a good option. Thanks. We use semi skimmed. I like using bottles but the 75% less waste is very appealing especially if other recycling is not actually taking place anymore.

    My mum had a soda stream in the seventies and it was great. Thanks for the nudge. They are available from Argos and Lakeland and there’s one just like my mum’s on Ebay for £3.00!

    Love the idea of a huge consumer revolt day. How could we go about organising it?

    Hello Jane

    Using the bags for sandwiches is a brilliant idea. Thank you.

    Hi Jackie

    Lucky you! I love goat’s milk and goat’s cheese is to die for.

    When I retire I’m definitely going to get a goat.

    Hello Small Pines

    Yes I agree so many of the new greener products are only affordable if you have a large income.

    In time they’ll come down in price. They’ll have to.

    In the UK there are now grants for insulating homes (lofts and cavity walls for the very poor). Often these are financed by the fuel supply companies.

    Hello ruth_dt

    I examined a pouch this evening and I got this wrong. They are degradable not biodegradable. Have updated the post.

    Hello S.O.L.

    Lots of great points here.

    The Canadian jug sounds good. We’ve had two pouches that worked like a dream and one that turned nasty and leaked milk everywhere. Don’t know how this happened!

    I’ll ask the local milkman if he supplies the bags.

    I found organic pouches for the first time in Newmarket this evening. We switched from organic to ordinary when we started our cost cutting last year. The organic pouches are 24p more than the ordinary Select Farm ones that I found in Cambridge last Sunday.

    We remove the bottle tops. As per the instructions on the plastics recycling bag.

    Hello Z

    Good on you.

    Perhaps in the end we’ll go back to the glass bottles. They can be washed 40 times before they have to be recycled.

    Hi Pamela

    There were open jugs in Waitrose this evening to go with the organic milk pouches. I didn’t examine them so have no idea whether they have spikes in the bottom. They didn’t have lids though.

    Hi S.O.L.

    Thanks for the link.

    Hello Shona

    Thanks for dropping by.

    The Waitrose own brand non organic is 80p for 2 pints. The organic Welsh milk pouches that I found this evening were £1.04 for 2 pints.

    These will come down in price if they take off.

    The packaging is recyclable. But as I have discovered from reading all these comments can be reused as freezer, sandwich and mini grow bags. Brilliant.

  6. This is a brilliant idea. I was a chef once upon a time and we used to use something similar. I looked online at a Sainsburys that stocked the Jugit pouches (no branch near me stocks it sadly) as I was curious about the price…shockingly high but i did notice that they also stock their own version of milk in a pouch. I used this postcode (the shops own postcode) TN24 8YN when asked if they deliver to my area and followed the link from fresh food. They sell their own brand for 84 pence for 2 pints. Don’t know if the packaging is recyclable but I do know I’m extremely envious of those people who live in an area which stocks it.

  7. S.O.L.

    yeah, Pamela, when ever we stay PB’s family lend us items, and they always give us a jug, with a plastic spike in the bottom. It also was a lid?

    All his cousins have them as well? So I guess maybe they are old hat then? we used one in September 2009. It is plastic so who knows how old it is.

    http://www.canadiandesignresource.ca/officialgallery/?p=22

    I dont know if you can buy them from that link. but that is the exact model we had in Canada…

  8. Pamela

    I didn’t know about the spike in the bottom of the jug in Canada. I have only seen them with the bag still in the jug.

  9. We have milk in glass bottles from the milkman too. I don’t begrudge the cost. I find the whole plastic recycling thing very confusing, as so many plastics are mixed (different materials in bottles and caps, for instance) so I use as little as possible.

  10. S.O.L.

    I second Pamela and Jane, when in Canada we always buy aqt loeblaws, and the milk comes in bags. We carefully snip the ends, wash the bags out and then give them to PB’s famiy who reuse them for sandwiches, freezer bags etc.

    The jugs you can buy for it in Canada, have a spike in the bottom, you drop the bag on to the spike slowly pull the bag up and the milk is then not spilt!

    On another note, I had read at work that you can get the bags from the milk man in Wales. So maybe this is something you could ask your local dairy for. If more people asked, then they make think it is worth it.

    The supermarkets are only interested in how much the can pack on the shelves. So they dont have to keep restocking.

    On another bad note, if you leave the lids/tops on the plastic bottles you are recycling, they are dumped in the land fill as the lids arent recycled… Some thing to think about.

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