Every day thousands of plastic milk bottles are used up in cafés around New Zealand, but a new start-up company in Dunedin might have a solution to reducing the waste.
Taking inspiration from beer, it’s distributing milk in kegs, and early signs are it's proving very effective.
The stainless steel kegs hold the equivalent of five two-litre plastic bottles at a time. Dunedin café The Corner Store is the first to trial them.
It's estimated that in doing so, they'll save more than 3500 plastic bottles each year.
“To go from using 50 two-litre plastic bottles a week, to be able to remove that straight away and use completely re-usable kegs, is a major benefit for us,” says café owner, Mark Anson.
Spout Alternatives was born as part of the Venture Up business programme, a scheme to encourage young entrepreneurs.
Its first idea was to sell milk in glass bottles, but the keg idea quickly developed.
“We thought why not go bigger? Instead of selling to a household that uses two litres of milk a week, sell to a café that uses like 100 litres a week,” says Luka Licul, Spout Alternatives co-founder.
The kegs are filled at a dairy farm on the outskirts of Dunedin and so far, it's proving easy and sustainable.
If successful, the idea could be scaled up, saving huge numbers of bottles.
For now its looking for more Dunedin cafés to join in before hopefully, going nation-wide.