Saving over 1800 TetraPaks in 6 months with zero waste to landfill oat milk refills


Oat Milk / M*lk dispensing machine with the title "We've saved over 1800 TetraPaks"

It’s just a little over 6 months since we got our Oat Milk dispensing machine from Minor Figures and it’s quickly become one of our most popular products in the shop. In that time, our inventory says that we’ve sold 1854.55kg of Oat Milk refills to our customers, and given each TetraPak is 1 litre that means we’ve saved over 1800 TetraPaks from being produced to be used for a single purpose over a very short time period, that goes to waste after that use and then with only a small chance to get recycled. Especially in Sheffield!


Too many times I’ve seen TetraPaks getting thrown out in the brown kerbside recycling bins. If you do this they will NOT be recycled. They are a multi-material package, and as such need to go through specialist recycling facilities. Thrown in a brown bin in Sheffield, they are likely to get sorted as general waste and sent to the incinerator, and could potentially contaminate a whole batch of recycling that will then be destined to the same fate.

Diagram showing the materials used to create a TetraPak and how they are processed for recycling or disposal after use.
Source: drinkpathwater.com

With only 2 dedicated facilities to collect TetraPaks across the whole city (and with 1 of those under threat of being closed) this really isn’t a great situation! That's why we are so proud to be able to offer a solution to this waste problem and provide a sustainable product at the same time.


Glass bottle with a zero waste refill of Oat Milk / M*lk

All of the Oat Milk that we’ve sold since January has been completely zero waste to landfill, and many people that come to the shop ask us “So, how does the milk get to you then?” Here's a little more info.


The first thing that’s an important difference between buying in TetraPak vs refilling is that the packaging that we work with is a simple bag-in-box system that is much easier to recycle compared to TetraPak as it doesn’t require separating the individual layers of different materials that are stuck together to make the cartons.


Flattened and folded plastic bags ready for shipping to specalist recycling where the exact contents are known to help processing the materials

In a way, we do have to separate the materials, but all we have to do is discard the card box in our paper and card recycling and when the bag is empty we give it a wash out. When we have quite a few empty bags collected, we flatten and fold them, and pack into the mailer bag provided to us directly from Minor Figures.


These bags are used to send the plastic bag, and other dispensing parts, to a specialist recycler where they will know the exact contents of the mailer bag and importantly what materials it contains. This would be where problems come up with recycling plastics (and most other materials) as it can be hard to know exactly what the material is and how to process it, if it even can be processed.


The sealed mailer bag ready to be shipped, reducing carbon emssions by 97% in total vs using TetraPaks.

By using this specialised recycling service the “end-of-life emissions” (aka the emissions related to packaging ending up in landfill or being recycled) are reduced by a further 17% and a massive 97% in total vs TetraPak!


On top of this removal of landfill waste, buying an Oat M*lk refill from us means 42% less carbon emissions and 76% less packaging for the same volume when buying in a TetraPak, and Minor Figures Oat M*lk is already 7 times less intensive than industrial dairy milk!


Oat Milk refills are available to purchase in-store, or you can use our online store to place an order for home delivery or to collect in-store.


🌍 The Bare Alternative 🌲 332 Abbeydale Road, S7 1FN 🌲 www.barealternative.co.uk 🌍

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