A Waikato dairy farm is getting behind a new initiative to help cafes cut down on the use of single-use milk bottles by the thousands each year.
The Udder Way is a two-year-old Australian company selling 18-litre milk kegs for baristas to reduce their plastic milk bottle use by up to an estimated 10,000 per cafe each year.
The Tasmania-based business claims it has eliminated 1.6 million milk bottles from waste by connecting its kegs up to milk dispensers or taps at Australian hospitality outlets.
In its first New Zealand play, The Udder Way kegs are now being filled with organic and non-organic milk by boutique dairy company Green Valley Dairies from its Mangatāwhiri factory in North Waikato.
Dairy general manager Mark Pulman said the kegs were a good fit for some cafes and helped get the sustainability story out.
"There are other options out there. Some are more expensive for the cafes, so The Udder Way is a good, low cost option."
He said it was great the kegs were specifically designed for both dairy and food service industries.
"We're also proud to be playing our part in helping our customers reduce their environmental footprint," he said.
"Fonterra is putting out the message that they need their farmers to get on board with being more environmentally conscious - and they are, and that's important."
The Udder Way founder Ed Crick came up with the idea while running cafes in Tasmania.
"We were going though almost 30,000 plastic milk bottles a year, which really concerned me. We were making the effort to use things like sustainable coffee cups and meanwhile our bins were overflowing with plastic bottles," he said.
Auckland cafe Daily Bread has signed up to use the kegs as its manager Emily Hancock said they took up less space and created much less waste at the end of each day.
The Udder Way kegs have a lifespan of at least eight years before they are recycled and turned back into kegs. The company claims one cafe could eliminate the use of between 7,000 and 10,000 milk bottles on average each year by using its kegs.