New Milk Pouches Reduce Waste in Schools

Feb 11, 2002

College Place and three other schools in Washington state’s Edmonds School District have replaced milk cartons with milk in plastic pouches. The schools are part of a six-week pilot program aimed at reducing waste, which has been cut by 25
percent since the program began two weeks ago, according to College Place Principal Sue Venable and Oak Heights Elementary Principal Craig Madsen. Edmonds is the first district in Western Washington to try the “Mini-Sip Pouch,” which is already being used in some other states and several Eastern Washington districts, including Spokane and the Tri-Cities, reports The Seattle Times.

DuPont, the Canadian company that produces the pouches, claims the pouches reduced cafeteria trash 80 percent by weight and 70 percent by volume compared with paper cartons, and helped save more than 14 million pounds of waste from going into landfills last year. Milk in pouches, available in nonfat chocolate and one-percent regular, costs the same as in cartons — 40 cents at College Place, and holds the same amount. Students don’t taste any difference from milk in cartons, although one noted that the pouches feel colder.

Doug Wordell, food-services director for Spokane schools, says that pouches having reduced cafeteria trash by 25 to 30 percent since they were introduced in the district’s elementary schools two years ago hasn’t translated into savings on garbage-collection costs. “You’d need to reduce trash output by 50 percent in order to compact two pickups into one,” he says. And there are benefits to frequent pickups, such as keeping rodent and pest problems to a minimum.

Moderator Comment: Will consumers put their money where their environmental consciences are?

We will leave it to our resident dairy category experts and others to discuss the benefits/drawbacks to various types of packaging for liquid milk consumption. Do most consumers still actively care about the environment and does their environmental activism stop at a higher price tag? [George
Anderson – Moderator

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