Bouteille de lait Dairy Crest

Dairy crest milk bottle

Between the 1920s and the 1930s, glass-bottled milk became the norm around the world. It was delivered at your door, fresh and enveloped by cold glass. After being used, these bottles would be cleaned and left by the front door to be picked up and reutilized. This was the common practice. In the United Kingdom, in fact, 94% of milk was glass-bottled, many of those receptacles belonging to Dairy Crest, a leader in the dairy industry in the country. In 2012, this number had dropped to 4%.

This could be due, in part, to the invention of refrigerators and their increasing presence in middle-class households. As milk could now be kept longer, fewer milk deliveries were needed. The second explanation for this drop could be the supermarkets’ decision in the late 20th century to sell cheaper alternatives to the glass bottles: plastic containers. For certain progressively after that, people found new ways to package milk like cartons and bags, all of them cheaper and easier to transport than their sand-based ancestor. With this, the relevancy of glass-bottled milk slowly plummeted.