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Moooooove Over, Milk Jugs
American grocers and dairymen are extremely excited about a new milk jug that will save water, increase efficiency and allow customers to enjoy a fresher product. Customers, on the other hand, don't seem to be too enthused so far.
"It spills everywhere," Amy Wise, a homemaker, told the New York Times. "It's very hard for kids to pour," said Lee Morris, also to the Times. Would these people have the same reaction if they knew that the new design might save thousands of gallons of water and gasoline? The new milk jugs are rectangular with a spout on top, and like the building blocks we all played with in kindergarten, they can be stacked into a nice sturdy structure. Since the new design allows more milk to fit in delivery trucks and in the stores' refrigerated storage areas—224 gallons as opposed to 80—some suppliers have been able to cut down their deliveries from five times a week to two.
The new design also alleviates the need for milk crates (sorry, milk-crate makers). In one dairy alone about 100,000 gallons of water a day are used to clean the old milk crates that have become filthy after birds have taken roost in them. With the new design, no crates are needed. Instead a machine stacks the jugs into four layers with cardboard sheets in between. The entire cube is shrink-wrapped and can be moved with a forklift.
The new jugs are a great example of how a small change can have huge results. Keep this in mind if you're frustrated with the progress you've been making in creating a green home. Actions like quitting your bottled water habit or turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth may seem like mere grains of sand on the beach of environmental preservation, but millions of small actions can add up to one giant change.