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Dairy Facts 2016

Plastic Milk Crates

Plastic milk crates

Plastic Milk Crates Provide Sustainable Secondary Packaging

Milk companies spend between $80 to $100 million annually to replace stolen plastic milk crates.

The plastic milk crate is the only secondary packaging needed for milk delivery; no cardboard or plastic wrap is used. They crates stand up to extreme temperatures, take abuse and last years and years before they need to be recycled into new crates. Some have lasted more than 30 years, each carrying hundreds of thousands of milk containers to stores. The crates are made of one of the most prized plastics in the recycling industry.

But every time someone takes an empty milk crate, a replacement crate must be manufactured. This means four pounds of plastic resin must be created, molded and shipped. This produces green house gases that would not have occurred if the crate had not been diverted from its mission. Each replacement crate costs about $4 and contains the plastic of approximately 65 plastic water bottles.The dairy industry is losing almost 20 million crates per year.

Most milk crates disappear because of outright criminal theft, not misuse. These criminals steal virtually anything they can get their hands on and sell it for scrap. However, many are taken from the outside stores by ordinary people, who do not realize that the majority of these crates wind up in landfills, in the woods or along riverbeds.

To learn more about what other milk companies are doing to stem the losses, visit

Milk Industry Foundation Founded in 1908, the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF) is made up of 105 member companies that process, distribute and market approximately 85 percent of U.S. fluid milk, yogurts, cottage cheese, sour cream, soft cheeses, eggnog, creams, dairy dressing and dips, as well as bottled water, juices and juice drinks.

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