store offer milk refills
Gemma Fischer
Gemma Fischer
October 29, 2019 ·  2 min read

The Refillable Milk Scheme from A Plastic Free Community

A shop on Anglesey street in Wales, UK is working to tackle the problem of plastic waste. Paul Ellis, and his partner Leonie Gaulton, his partner, run the shop, and together have installed a milk machine for customers to fill reusable glass bottles, themselves!

So far this implemented self-service has become increasingly popular. Their customers can purchase a glass bottle, or bring in their own containers to fill from the 14-liter tank in-store.

Just a week after launching the milk station, they’ve found that their supply of locally-sourced milk is being emptied between two and three times each day.

Paul thanks his wife for the innovative idea. As quoted in an interview with BBC “Like all great ideas it was my missus’s,” he said.

The shop has also been receiving calls from business owners in Canada, Ireland, and Sweden in order to find out more, and how they could implement this station as well.

“It’s not a revolutionary idea but it’s a start.”

At this shop on Anglesey, customers can also bring back items such as chip (crisp) packages, sweet wrappers, and toothbrushes, so that they can be properly recycled. 

When asked about these environmental actions, Paul says “It makes a big difference I think,” 

“We don’t need everybody to make a massive change, it just needs a lot of people to make a small change.” 

Kristy Luff, of the environmental charity Friends of the Earth Cymru, said, “It’s wonderful to see this milk refill scheme in Angleset proving so popular with shoppers. The scourge of single-use plastics is all around us, so having more refill stations in shops of all sorts is exactly the direction we need to be heading.

“Now supermarkets must follow the lead of the growing number of zero-waste and independent shops by providing opportunities for shoppers to refill their containers during their grocery shop.”

Back in April of 2019, Anglesey became the first county in the UK to be awarded with the plastic-free community status, by the marine conservation group Surfers Against Sewage.

Annwen Morgan, of Anglesey council, said: “This is the latest in a number of innovative schemes by business’ on the island. 

“The milk machine scheme is a great example of what can be done to tackle disposable plastic and help make a difference.”

It would be great to see this idea translate into the United States and Canada, although it’s likely that the demand will be for plant-based alternatives!

  1. Plastic waste: Shop launches refillable milk scheme
  2. Glass milk bottles being chosen instead of single use plastic