This article appeared in the January 28, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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When ‘the empties’ are lined up again at the door

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/File
Dave Campbell delivers milk and other grocery products for Hornstra Farms dairy, on Aug. 10, 2017, in Hingham, Mass. Hornstra Farms is a fourth generation, family owned dairy that has been in operation since 1915. They still deliver milk in glass bottles.

Bring back the milkman. That’s the concept behind the latest waste reduction project.

A coalition of big name brands aims to build reuse into consumption – like the milkmen of an earlier era. In the modern version, products like Tide detergent, Degree deodorant, or Häagen Dazs ice cream would be hand-delivered in durable containers via a subscription delivery service. Later, empties would be picked up, sanitized, and refilled. The project, announced Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is set to pilot in New York and Paris this spring.

Companies involved in the project are largely responding to consumer pressure for more environmentally friendly packaging – part of a broader waste reduction movement.

The past few years have seen a rebellion against the ubiquity of plastic straws, single-use shopping bags, and disposable cutlery. Simultaneously, reuse has extended beyond the realm of water bottles and canning jar lunches to everything from reusable food covers (replacing plastic wrap) to cloth “paper” towels.

Growing up, I knew few people who hand-washed and reused plastic bags, sometimes for years – like my parents. But today, reusing all sorts of things has moved into the mainstream as more people have taken on the mantra of “reduce, reuse, recycle” as a personal responsibility.

Now onto our five stories for your Monday.

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This article appeared in the January 28, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 01/28 edition