Reducing milk waste

The news about a new report from WRAP highlighting the fact that 330,000 tonnes of milk are wasted each year in the UK, equivalent to 7% of all milk produced, should give one pause. As global resources get tighter and people worry about sustainability, reducing milk waste, both in the home and in the processing and chill chain, is important. In our house, very little is wasted. My not so small child ensures that the milk delivered is consumed. We do drink a lot of milk.

However, 90% of UK milk waste is created in the home, equivalent to 18.5 pints per household per year, and another 30,000 tonnes is lost in the supply chain through breakages and leaks during transportation and in retail outlets, with an additional 13,000 tonnes of waste created during processing, WRAP has found.

The report, Opportunities to Reduce Waste along the Journey of Milk, from Dairy to Home, identifies key actions that could help reduce this waste. Tips for the home include freezing milk and increasing the average use by date on milk by a day. Soured milk can also be used in baking or cooking, I have found.

In the supply chain, significant waste comes from processes such as separating cream from milk, which produces ‘separator desludge’. WRAP believes this is a nutrient rich resource that could be used for food or animal feed applications rather than being thrown away.

Sometimes, it is just little things that matter. Eat the yogurt, even if it is past its date on the tub. A few days over has no effect. Mouldy cheese can have bits cut off – then again, this is another problem that we don’t suffer domestically. Cheese gets gleefully consumed. Often, the issue is we have run out of cheese.

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