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The new milk jug...

[If you're visiting from buzzfeed, or from some other websites currently misrepresenting the point of this photo, please see the second update at the end of the description, and the most recent comments. Thanks!]

 

Please allow me to rant for a moment.

 

Some time ago, COSTCO switched to a new and "improved" packaging method for selling milk. A sticker on the milk jugs explains to us the wonders of the new system, and a big sign in-store provides additional detail...

 

• Easy to Pour - New shape makes it simple to pour, just tilt.

The in-store sign promises "no more spills". Interestingly, with the new jugs, every time we pour there is a spill, which rarely happened (at least to me) with the old ones.

 

• Easy to Store - New shape fits better in your refrigerator.

Our refrigerator must be a mutant. The old shape used to fit better.

 

• Stays Fresher Longer - New foil inner seal locks in freshness. Remove inner seal from under the cap before pouring!

Well, duh. Try pouring without removing the inner seal first.

 

• Recyclable Jug

...as was the old one.

 

Not written on the sticker, but expounded on the in-store sign, they also laud the new system as being more environmentally conscious: instead of the old cardboard box, the two jugs now come packaged in plastic. Less trash, they claim! The small detail they fail to mention is that the cardboard was recyclable while the plastic wrap is garbage.

 

Should I mention the ease of carrying? The cardboard box had good handles, the plastic wrapping offers no means for grasping the jugs, which can cause them to fall (it happened to me once, and I'm not particularly clumsy).

 

What I can't figure out is why they need to sell two gallons at a time. Why not sell single gallons, doing entirely without the need for extra packaging?

 

I wrote them a feedback card detailing all this. So much for that.

 

Update: Not surprisingly, I'm not the only one that found issues with the new packaging method...

 

Update 2, June 30th, 2008: So I see that this image has been linked to from buzzfeed, under the title "I Hate This New Milk Jug!", which I never wrote. To the new visitors: Contrary to the summary on buzzfeed, which states among other things that the new packaging "creates less waste", the main point I'm making here is that it actually creates MORE waste, since the new packaging cannot be recycled. Less carbon emissions from transportation is great, but the bogus statements about less waste are not.

 

Ok, so I've been reading up some more about this new jug design, and I understand better the various benefits it can bring, after one learns to pour milk from it with minimal spills, and after modifying the refrigerator so it actually fits in.

The problem, then, is with COSTCO adding the plastic wrap to sell two gallons at a time. Instead of the recyclable cardboard box with the convenient handle, now we have extra plastic that (at least here) we can't recycle, and the plastic wrap blocks the jug's handles. All in all, we have pretty much adapted to the new format, and it's just the routine trashing of the needless plastic wrap that keeps rubbing it in.

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Taken on November 21, 2007