Skip to main content

Leading the way with milk

Open any fridge, at any squadron at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Woodbourne and you will find glass bottles filled with locally supplied milk.

07 October, 2022

It is the forward-thinking initiative of Sergeant (SGT) Hahn Stuart that has seen Woodbourne workplaces switch from plastic to glass in an effort to curb the amount of plastic waste that goes to landfill.

Unfortunately not all plastic is recycled and he saw the opportunity to switch as a win-win.

“My family had started getting milk from a local company at home and I thought it would be great if base could also benefit,” SGT Stuart said.

In late 2019 he proposed the switch to glass from plastic, which meant that Woodbourne had the opportunity to lead the way in sustainability, and reduction in waste to landfill. In 2020 SGT Stuart’s squadron, the Residential Servicing Control Team, implemented the glass milk system and in July 2021 all squadrons on base also switched.

While it was a long process to get implemented SGT Stuart said it was worth it and to see his idea come to life has been rewarding.

“This is the direction that we should be moving to as a society to minimise waste especially when recycling is not an option, it is also an added bonus for us that the product is superior.

“Air leading the way for the NZDF shows our innovation and ability to think outside the box, this should set the challenge for further innovation,” SGT Stuart said.

The one litre glass bottles of A2 milk, purchased through Oaklands Milk, a local Marlborough company located in Nelson, are delivered to base daily. In turn, they pick up the used glass bottles, take them away and they are washed and reused again.

Base Commander Woodbourne, Wing Commander (WGCDR) Paul Drysdale said something as simple as glass milk bottles allows base to do its part in sustainability, while also supporting local.

“Something as small as switching from plastic to glass can have a significant impact on the environment and minimising waste that goes to landfill.

“We are proud to be contributing in a small way like this,” WGCDR Drysdale said.

This initiative has almost completely removed the plastic milk bottle waste produced by base. The only exceptions are the messes and Fernleaf which are bound by ESS contract.