Milk on Tap: Wellington duo’s solution to plastic waste

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

Kaipaki Dairies

Roger and Amber Duncum are on a mission to reduce plastic waste in Wellington, New Zealand, one milk on tap at a time.

The husband-and-wife duo saw a gap in the market and are responding 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 more than 8000.

With over 17 years of experience in the dairy industry, the couple has extensive knowledge of how milk is produced and delivered. After seeing the number of plastic bottles used over the years, Roger says they wanted to adopt a sustainable new way to supply milk.

Their solution? Milk on tap.

Partnering with Kaipaki Dairies, Wellington Milk provides a fully sustainable zero-waste milk tap system that runs on 10 and 20-litre reusable milk pails operated via an on-bench tap.

The system allows businesses, such as cafes and offices, to access larger quantities of milk simultaneously instead of using multiple plastic milk bottles daily.

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

The taps are installed 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.

Roger says the idea is to cut down on the amount of waste made in the first place.

“Recycling is great, but we wanted to offer a fully sustainable and zero-waste option, even for packaging,” he explains.

Milk on Tap: Wellington duo's solution to plastic waste
Wellington Milk owner Roger Duncum, standing outside Shelly Bay Baker.

“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 spending 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 also have better quality milk, added Amber.

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

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

Milk on Tap: Wellington duo's solution to plastic waste
Staff at Fidel’s with their new milk tap.

“We’ve been using the tap to make our coffee, and we’ve seen less plastic waste and more efficiency in making coffees with less milk wastage, too,” said Forbes.

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 Kaipaki Dairies factory to have them cleaned and refilled,” the couple remarked.

“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 getting busier and busier in the region.”

With its zero-waste milk tap system, Wellington Milk is making it easier for businesses to reduce plastic waste and help the environment. Many businesses in the area are beginning to use milk taps, including the Wharewaka, Cable Top Eatery, Fidel’s Cafe, and Accor Hotels.

So, the next time you order a coffee with milk at your local cafe, ask them if they have milk on tap. You might be surprised by the answer.

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.

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