Milk Refill Vending Machine

Recently our van trip has been milk free. Seems they don’t do milk in bottles in France. But if you are lucky, they do do milk in machines. Check out this milk dispenser outside a huge supermarket chain. Thats us filling our water bottle with fresh, cool milk!

And now some forward thinking folk in the U.K have invested

Happy World Milk Day from Nunton Farm Dairy! Come to our Open Farm Sunday on the 11th June to sample our milk from our brand new vending machine, which will be located outside the Radnor Arms, Nunton, from the 17th July onwards. Yay @nuntonfarm on Facebook for lots more info.

And this was taken from the website

The Milk vending machine is now open!!!  Fresh milk is available every day. We are very excited to be have this new facility to enable customers to help themselves to milk  from a vending machine, recycling glass bottles and  reducing plastic bottle wastage. We would like to thank the many customers who have already been  to use the vending machine for their support.
The machine can be found at
Whitegate Farm, Norwich Road, Creeting St Mary, Suffolk, IP6 8PG
01449 710458 / 07787 584386

Can’t get to Suffolk? There are still some milk men who deliver in glass bottles. Check this list. If you know of any others please add to it.



My plastic boycott started because I didn’t like the impact plastic packaging had on the environment – as I learnt more, I began to worry about the impact it might be having on me.Plastic contains phthalates which are (possibly) carcinogenic and cause the feminization of male animals exposed to them. They are found in the stuff used to wrap meats and cheeses.

Bisphenol A is known to cause neurological and hormonal damage to lab animals. This is found in plastic food and drinks containers. There are indications that these chemicals can leach into the plastic wrapped products.

Two good reasons then to reject plastic wrapped products but it’s not easy and means going without all manner of foodstuffs. So while the sensible part of me, (the part that wanted my hormones undamaged), said stick with it, the greedy me was lusting after a piece of phthalate ridden cheese.

You will need to take your own packaging! Paper or biobags work best for cheese.


Hurrah then for Huddersfield Queensgate permanent market where I recently discovered stalls that sell loose cheese. It is not entirely plastic free – the large cheeses are packed in plastic and covered with Clingfilm but it is better than individually wrapped pieces – to my mind at least!

I take my own packaging and ask that it be used instead of the plastic bags provided. The market traders humour me and that’s another of the joys of shopping locally.

Same with the Polish Deli on Wood Street


I have done this is Tescos and other supermarkets. Again not entirely plastic free as the large block comes plastic wrapped.I take my own packaging and ask that it be used instead of the plastic bags provided.

Wholefoods in Cheltenham sell loose cheese but in their other stores it is wrapped.I take my own packaging and ask that it be used instead of the plastic bags provided.

Artisan Cheeses – almost always completely plastic free!!!!

Every so often you come across a cheese maker. Hurrah. Pricey but good!


If you live near Bideford, get yourself down to the farmers market held on the harbour on Saturdays. There is a cheese stall that sells proper home-made, unpackaged cheese. It’s good, really good! Remember to take your own bags….


Gemma, Darren & Ian can be found at Whitney Market selling their unwrapped and totally delicious cheeses. They also have a website 

Monkland Herefordshire

You can cheese from the working diary or go one step further and learn how to make it yourself! Here’s the website

Utracomida Aberystwyth restaurant and delicatessen

Located a stone’s throw from the sea on Pier Street – our Aberystwyth deli and restaurant offers a wonderful selection of artisan food and drink.And wonderful cheese. Here are the details


Yogurt & Yogurt makers

Yogurt comes in plastic pots  and I of course refuse to use one use disposables. So the pots have to go,but who can live without yogurt? Not us, so I had to learn how to make my own.

I had heard of how you could make it in a flask but I just ended up with curds and whey and an evil-smelling flask. Then Husband remembered how they used to make it back in the village  of his birth. He ended up with curds and whey and evil-smelling blankets.

So I bought me an Easy Yo Yogurt maker – – really easy – just mix the contents of the sachet with water – yes that’s right – the plastic foil sachet that came in the plastic packed box. Didnt think it through. Not best pleased – it did make very good yogurt though. If only they sold the mix in a jar – or cardboard box. Ho hum back to the drawing board.

And maybe it might be worth doing some in depth research:

So What Is Yogurt

Milk like everything else is full of bacteria. Even pasteurised milk as pasteurisation only kills a certain percentage of bacteria in milk. After a time these bacteria start to multiply. Some bacteria cause milk to go bad, others can turn it to yoghurt. Depending on which gains the upper hand, the end result can be evil smelling gunk or a tasty snack.

The main (starter) cultures or bacteria needed to turn milk into yogurt are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.

These are used to ferment the lactose (milk sugar) in milk. This results in lactic acid which decreases the pH, and breaks down the cell membranes so the proteins clump together and form the soft gel or as we know it, yoghurt.
Yoghurt is actually a very soft cheese.

If the yoghurt making bacteria are dominant they multiply and consume the food supply (milk sugars) starving out other bacteria, including the type that makes milk go off

Traditional yogurt has a high acid content, which many bacteria cannot survive in which is another reason yogurt stays fresh longer than milk.

Making Yogurt

The yoghurt making process is one of favouring certain bacterias over the others. This is done by killing off existing bacteria, introducing yogurt making bacteria, the starter culture, then ensuring that conditions suit the growth of that bacteria.

You will need…

milk 1 liter
starter culture (bacteria) 3 tablespoons of live yogurt or a powdered starter – see below for more details
a way to heat the milk
a food thermometer
A container for your yoghurt.
a way to keep the yogurt at a warm and constant temperature.

Chose your Milk
To make yoghurt you need milk proteins and milk sugars – milk in other words. But which milk?
I use Pasteurized milk from the milk man. Check out this list of people who deliver milk in glass bottles.
Ultra-pasteurized is said to be too sterile(I don’t know why that matters if you are introducing the culture), raw milk I don’t work with.
The milk can be whole or reduced-fat.
Or a mixture of the two.
Adding dry milk powder will increase the amount of whey protein and create a richer textured yogurt. See where you can buy loose powdered milk here.
Cream apparently doesn’t work at all.

Pasteurize the Milk
The milk mixture needs to be heated to 185°F (85°C) for 30 minutes or at 203°F (95°C) for 10 minutes. Which means you warm the milk to just below boiling on the stove, maintain the temperature keeping an eye on it all the while.
Some recipes say for half an hour though many say less time is needed.
This serves 2 functions:
First it breaks down the milk proteins resulting in a more stable yoghurt
Secondly it kills off any unwanted bacteria already present in the milk.
N.B. Even Pasteurization of milk only kills a certain percentage of bacteria in milk.

Cool Milk
Put the milk into your containers.
Allow the milk is cool to 108°F (42°C) the ideal growth temperature for the yoghurt making bacteria, (starter culture).

Add bacteria
Now add your Starter Culture. This usually a dollop of live yogurt though you can buy starter culture in other forms. more on this below.

Mix well

Allow To Ferment
The mixture now has be kept at 108°F (42°C) until a pH 4.5 is reached allowing fermentation to take place. Fermentation results in the soft gel known as yogurt. This process can take several hours. Too hot or too cold and your bacteria won’t work.
You have to find a reliable way to keep your mixture warm and at a stable temperature.

Ways to keep warm
an electric yogurt maker,
an insulated container or flask
an oven with just the light
a food dehydrator
Lots of blankets

To check the yogurt is ready, try tilting the pot. If it moves as one you have made yogurt.Yay. If it separates into liquid and solids the bacteria has run out of food.

The longer you let your yoghurt ferment the more acid it becomes and the more tart the taste.

To stop the fermentation process cool the mixture to 7°C.

Starter Cultures

The yogurt starter can be made from live yogurt bought from a shop. make sure it says “live cultures.
You can  use your own homemade live yogurt as a starter culture.
You can buy starter cultures as a powder. These are from Amazon. Obviously the packaging contains some plastic but so does a pot of yogurt.

Trouble Shooting

Theoretically you should be able to use your own home made live yoghurt to make more yoghurt indefinitely However we find that after a while our home made live yoghurt seems to loose its strength and we cannot make more using this batch. So every few weeks we need to buy a new container of yogurt for a fresh culture.

This is because the bacteria is weak, possibly dead

One solution is the freeze a fresh batch as soon as the yogurt is made. This keeps your bacteria feisty.

Keeping it warm. If you dont have a constant heat source,  yogurt making can be tricky. I tried putting it in the oven and making it in a flask but the results were too variable. finally got me an electric yogurt maker from Lakeland – mail order. The yogurt is made in a plastic container -BPA free for those of you worried about leaching chemicals. It works really well. So although it is a plastic product I feel it is worth it as it cuts our overall plastic consumption. It does make good yogurt and is very easy to use. If you are busy I would recommend getting one of these.


Trying Homemade Again Since then VB has re-learnt his yogurt making skills and now makes it in a pan which he leaves wrapped in a blanket overnight. Completely plastic free.

Reusing the Easy Yo And if you check the comments you will find out how to make yogurt using hot water and how to use the Easy Yo yogurt maker without purchasing more sachets.


Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are the only 2 cultures required by law  to be present in live yogurt.
Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus subsp. casei, and Bifido-bacteria are probiotic cultures. These, it is claimed, help improve  lactose digestion, gastrointestinal function, and stimulate the immune system.

There are yogurts that culture at room temperature, which is even easier!

Find other plasticfree recipes here.


Milk & Milkmen

British consumers got through nine billion pints of milk last year. 90% of that milk was bought in a plastic container. That’s a lot of plastic trash only a percentage of which gets recycled. See some recycling stats here.
Glass milk bottles can be re-used up to 20 times. By my calculations that means that 1 bottle lasts 20 days that equals 18 bottles a year as oppose to 364 plastic bottles a year.So I got myself a milk man with real glass bottles.

Do you want one? Course you do!
Are they expensive? I pay £1.70 for 2 pints of organic semi skimmed delivered to my door.

This his website can  help  Find Me A Milkman does exactly what it says on the tin. Type in your postcode to find who is delivering in your area. N.B. Not all deliveries are in glass – you will have to check

Milk and More Dairycrest  also deliver nationally. However they were looking to phase out glass bottle and replace them with plastic. You can read more here

Local & Glass

These companies are smaller and usually local businesses. When last checked, the delivered milk in glass bottles – BUT DO DOUBLE CHECK

In The North


Darlington Acorn Dairy, do doorstep delivery in glass bottles. They deliver to Darlington,South Durham and the Dales/North Yorkshire.


Ian on 0795 829 0246 delivers.

This is thanks to the students of Landcaster who gave up plastic for Lent. May be out of date but worth a try.In case anyone is looking for a Lancaster Milkman, here is a useful list compiled by Emily! Milkmen in Lancaster (April 2009)
Raymond McDougall tel: 01524 36158 – covers Fairfield and the Marsh.
Hey & Sons tel: 01524 770343 – covers Primrose, Greaves, Scotforth, Piccadilly and Lancaster University.
Martin Edwards tel: 07739 486357 – covers Hala.
Colin Johnson tel: 01524 36222 – covers Aldcliffe, Ashton Road, Torrington Road.

Mc Queens Diaries  deliver to Headingly Leeds and perhaps other places too

Cream Online is a great doorstep delivery service that does milk in glass bottles. But also juice! And it delivers a veg box which when I asked they told was very much plastic reduced. I didn’t actually use the veg box service so you might want to double check.It also delivers all kinds of other essentials. Not plastic free stuff but not from a chain either. Rather it is a local, family run company.


Moofresh – loads of different milk in glass bottles. They deliver round Birmingham and Tamworth – you can find a full list of places here on their website

The Cotteswold Dairy serve:
Colony Bay
More info here 

Kirby & West

Family run dairy business delivering milk and other products to doorsteps around Leicester, Market Harborough and Lutterworth.



Parker Dairies is a small independant dairy situated in Walthamstow, supplying milk and other goods all over east london and the city.


£1 for 1L bottle £1 to fill it from a vending machine.

North Oxfordshire

North Aston Dairy

  • North Aston
    Upper Heyford
    Lower Heyford
    Steeple Aston
    Middle Aston
    Duns Tew

We deliver the milk late afternoon onto doorsteps in glass litre bottles. It is pasteurised but unhomogenized so has a lovely layer of cream on top. We also attend East Oxford farmers market every Saturday. Follow us on twitter @northastondairy Enquiries –

Ongar Dairy



Milk delivery across Epping Loughton and Chigwell. Our product range includes local and organic produce delivered by 7am


Essex Dairys @essexdairys Twitter Says YES they deliver in glass!

Milk, eggs, cheese, yogurts and much more delivered to offices, restaurants and homes across Essex and guaranteed by 7am!! Contact us at

Felsted, England

U.K. Wide

And this website can  help  Find Me A Milkman does exactly what it says on the tin. Type in your postcode to find who is delivering in your area.
N.B. Not all deliveries are in glass – you will have to check

Milk and More Dairycrest deliver nationally. keep the glass featuredDairycrest is a big company that deliver nationwide. However they were looking to phase out glass bottle and replace them with plastic. You can read more here 

Milk Dispensers

If you can’t find a local milk man why not petition your supermarket to set up a milk dispenser where you can refill your own bottles. 



Back in my more innocent days I used to think that butter wrapped in foil was plastic free. Till the day I didn’t have a butter dish to hand (!) and butter was served, as bought, in the wrapper. Over time the foil wrapping began to crack, crack but not break.  Strange I thought …  and closer investigation showed it was  not breaking up because it was foil  lined with plastic.You can find out more about plastic lined foil here

So began the search for paper wrapped butter.
This is what I have found. Salted butter is more likely to come wrapped in paper than unsalted. Why? I have no idea.
The greaseproof paper used to wrap the butter  may not be what it seems. Rather it could be plastic lined or  chemically treated rather than natural greaseproof paper. You can read about that here.

But taking all of the above into account, paper wrapped butter and margarine is the best we can do.

Buying Paper Wrapped Butter

More companies are switching to foil wrapped butter. Many that used to supply paper wrapped no longer do so. Consequently this info may be out of date. The Plastic Is Rubbish Facebook group is good for updates and latest info.

this is what we got…

The Cheese Stall in Queensgate, Huddersfield, (only salted)
Barbican in Chorlton Manchester, (only salted).
Sainsbury’s,  Huddersfield Town Centre do unsalted butter in paper but you can only find it on the cheese counter not in the self service aisles. The wrapper definitely has a paper component but is marked mixed materials which means it is probably plastic lined. See above notes.
MArks & Spencers sell some very expensive butter in paper.
Waitrose – Not personally confirmed.
Iceland – apparently still sell butter in paper – salted.

Many thanks to the Plastic Is Rubbish Facebook group for their input and updates


Sainsbury and the Co-op used to wrap their cheap, salted, butter in paper.  I have recently heard that they have stopped doing this.

Morrisons – I heard they used to sell some butter in paper. There are now reports that this has been discontinued.


I have found myself falling out with margarine – it is slithery, weird and synthetic so I only use it very occasionally. This information may well be out of date.
Sainsburys & Tescos do paper wrapped.


You can often use vegetable oil in place of margarine or butter. Cheaper than butter healthier than margarine.  It  isn’t  entirely plastic-free either but I do what I can


Before the boycott I ate margerine because I thought it was healthier option but you cannot get decent margarine plastic free. It all comes in plastic tubs.
So I went back to butter. But what about the risks? You ask? seems butter is not so bad for you after all and some margarines are poison!
” there never was any good evidence that using margarine instead of butter cut the chances of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. Making the switch was a well-intentioned guess, given that margarine had less saturated fat than butter, but it overlooked the dangers of trans fats.”
And this
“butter is on the list of foods to use sparingly mostly because it is high in saturated fat, which aggressively increases levels of LDL. Margarines, though, aren’t so easy to classify. The older stick margarines that are still widely sold are high in trans fats, and are worse for you than butter. Some of the newer margarines that are low in saturated fat, high in unsaturated fat, and free of trans fats are fine as long as you don’t use too much (they are still rich in calories).”
From Harvard Health 


Go back to the oil index to read about the other fatty acids we eat.
What are  oils, waxes and butters and which do we use.?

Lots more plastic-free food here.

Find more sneaky plastics here….