It doesn’t take much to imagine beer from the tap, but it took some uni students to figure out how to get milk the same way. “We decided to get into milk as we saw a great opportunity to reduce the plastic waste associated with dairy products in New Zealand. By doing further market research into this problem, we found that cafes go through huge amounts of milk bottles each week, with a majority of those ending up in landfill. Our solution was very much inspired by beer. If beer could be ‘sustainably packaged’ in steel kegs and dispensed on tap, why couldn’t we do the same thing with milk?,” explained Jo Mohan, one of Spout's co-founders.
With the mission of getting rid of plastic milk bottles, Spout is a Dunedin-born start-up that provides cafes with milk in kegs. Jo Mohan, together with Nick Jackson and Luka Licul, met at an accelerator program in Wellington and are the ones bringing their steel kegs to the Edgewater Resort which is the first local cafe to latch onto the idea. “There were lots of learning curves in our first few months of operation as none of us had come from a dairy/ farming background, we had to test and try out different cleaning processes to best fit milk. We found a local farmer who was willing to fill up our kegs, and in June 2019, we launched our first pilot cafe in Dunedin,” said Mohan.
A spokesperson from Edgewater Resort explained that each week they are striving to waste less and less. To add emphasis to this mission they have created a new position to maximise their efforts in environmental sustainability.
“We currently go through on average 180 litres of blue top milk a week here at Edgewater and that’s about 90 plastic containers per week. The part we can play in reducing our negative impact on the recycling chain is huge just from the implementation of this one move. In addition we love that the milk is from Windy Ridge Farm. The fact that the waste is dramatically reduced and also there is the benefit that our wonderful guests and locals are able to bring in a bottle to get it filled and purchase a bottle of milk from us straight from the spout!”
Edgewater’s decision to tap into this waste-free milk system will prevent more than 4,500 plastic containers from being wasted over the next 12 months.