Be Green, Recycle Less ? Here's How …

The Farm Crest Milk Store in Centennial, Colo.

There’s a little convenience store not far from our house called “Farm Crest Milk Store” that I’ve driven by many times. A few weeks ago I happened to remember that we needed milk right as I was approaching the store, so I pulled in the parking lot.  I was curious about a whole store devoted to milk but discovered that it’s a lot like a 7-11, with a few gas pumps outside and the usual impulse buy items inside. What was different, however, was a large bank of glass cases full of milk containers. The milk is from a local dairy, it’s raised without growth hormones or antibiotics, it costs a mere $2.22 a gallon, and if you put a $1 deposit on a bottle one time then you can swap your empty bottle for a full one when you return it.  We go through one to two gallons of milk a week in this household, so just by making this one switch we’ve eliminated at least 52 plastic gallon milk bottles from the recycling bin.

Milk in a returnable bottle
Milk in a returnable bottle

This exciting development got me thinking about reusable packaging. Remember the old days, when you’d return your pop bottles to the store for a nickle? I haven’t found any other examples of reusable packaging yet, but I’m beginning to see more and more opportunities to buy in bulk and simply eliminate packaging — even better!

A big, beautiful Whole Foods store recently opened at the Streets of Southglenn, and we stopped in to check out the offerings.

Whole Foods at Streets of Southglenn

The store is simply amazing, from a huge selection of prepared foods to an in-store sushi bar. But I digress. The store also offers a huge variety of bulk items, such as bath salts:

Bulk bath salts

…a huge aisle of bulk beans, rice and grains:

Bulk bins galore

…a machine to fill your own container with filtered water:

Bring your own container for this purified water

…granola (no more cereal boxes!):

Bulk granola = no more cereal boxes

…and plenty more. Why not seek out sources of bulk products and reusable packaging in your neighborhood and see what you can find? I’d love to hear about your discoveries.



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About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of 15 books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

2 thoughts on “Be Green, Recycle Less ? Here's How …”

  1. This is a great post, Eliza! I love Farm Crest, I think they have one in the Arvada area, too, which I remember from my wee childhood. Also, there is a brand at Whole Foods that comes in a glass bottle, you can return the bottle for a $1 refund. We are out of their delivery area here, but it is from CO. Also, at the Southglenn WF, bulk olive oil!! Still looking for a place that lets you refill lotion bottles, that we end up using too often!

  2. Hormone Free, Antibiotic Free milk at $2.22 a gal? Is it because the containers are reusable?
    The best price I can find in my area is $4.50 and I asked if they can take their jugs back, but alas they cannot. When I have paid off my debts and have more disposable income I plan to switch to goats milk which is available hormone/antibiotic free in reuseable glass containers, but the $3/qt price is a bit out of my reach especially when we go through 2 + gals a week (I + gal is just DH)


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