News | 14 March 2024
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Keeping Wellington businesses calf-inated

Got milk? Roger and Amber Duncum sure do. This husband-and-wife duo saw a gap in the market to reduce plastic waste and are doing so by installing milk taps for a range of Wellington’s hospitality businesses, saving 800 milk containers per week with the plan to expand this to over 8,000 containers – that’s saving the resources required to make and recycle 41,600 plastic 2L milk containers every year!

Man standing infront of a cafe holding a bottle of milk and a milk tap.
Wellington Milk owner Roger Duncum, standing outside Shelly Bay Baker.

With Roger and Amber having over 17 years of experience in the dairy industry, working for and as dairy contractors, the couple have extensive knowledge of how milk is produced and delivered.  

After seeing the number of plastic bottles that were being used over the years, Roger says they wanted to adopt a sustainable new way to supply milk. 

“I was looking for a way to provide great service and products while prioritising environmentally friendly practices.

“In our search, we found a great match in Kaipaki Dairies who are committed to offering zero waste milk options. Kaipaki provide reusable glass bottles but also a fully sustainable zero waste milk tap system that runs on 10 and 20 litre reusable milk pails operated via an on-bench tap.” 

With funding from the Wellington City Council’s Waste Minimisation Seed Fund the Duncum's business, Wellington Milk, has been using the allocated funds to introduce the milk taps to Wellington and raise awareness of this option that allows businesses, such as cafes and offices, to access larger quantities of milk at a time instead of using multiple plastic milk bottles every day.  

While this system is new to Wellington, Kaipaki Dairies offers these options throughout the Waikato, Auckland and Bay of Plenty regions. 

Someone using a milk tap.
Image from Kaipaki Dairies.

Even though Wellington Milk is just getting started with milk taps, it's currently delivering around 1200 litres a week through the taps and pails!  Their funding will help them reach their goal of saving 8,000 containers per week in the city, which saves the resources required to make and recycle 41,600 plastic 2L milk containers every year.

These taps are installed to sit alongside coffee machines for easy access to the milk, and pails are delivered when top-ups are needed. There is always a quick turnaround to keep the milk fresh for customers. 

The idea is to cut down on the amount of waste being created in the first place, says Roger.  

“Recycling is great but we wanted to offer a fully sustainable and zero-waste option, even down to the packaging. The milk has features that allow the exact preset pour quantity preference to be set, this eliminates milk wastage as they can pour the exact amount of milk needed for their drinks. It stops them from needing to spend time and losing money on throwing out milk if they measure too much, and stops them from needing to replace and throw out bottles."

The taps not only look good in cafes but the milk is better quality, says Amber. 

“We supply whole milk. It’s milked from the cow and pasteurised at a low temperature to make sure it’s safe, whilst not compromising the natural product. It’s very similar to milk bottles you’d get as a kid!” 

The team at Fidel's with their milk tap.
Staff at Fidel's with their new milk tap.

Shelly Bay Baker owner Sam Forbes has seen the benefits of using the milk taps in his business. 

“We’ve been using the tap to make our coffee and we’ve seen less plastic waste, and more efficiency making the coffees with less milk wastage too.” 
A range of businesses are beginning to use milk taps in Wellington, including the Wharewaka, Cable Top Eatery, Fidel’s Cafe and Accor Hotels.

Alongside the milk tap system, Roger and Amber also offer delivery of regular glass bottles of milk, which is often supplied to butchers, delis, offices, and some dairies.  

“People buy the milk then bring back their empty washed bottles and we switch it all out – to go back to Kapiaki Dairies factory to be cleaned and refilled. 

“We enjoy doing something a bit different and feel great that we are doing something better for the environment. We cover a large part of Wellington and it’s great to see things starting to get busier and busier in the region.”  
Find out more about Roger and Amber through their Facebook page and learn more about Wellington City Council’s Waste Minimisation Seed Fund.