Milk is such a staple at home. The average Goan household goes through hundreds of packets of milk a year, with Goa Dairy being the most popular supplier in the state. These milk packets, once used, are often disposed of as dry waste with barely a thought for the environment. Even though the packets can be recycled, most people either throw them out or worse still, burn them. What many people don’t know is that for over 15 years now, Goa Dairy has been the only milk company in India that has been buying back these empty milk packets. As part of their own decade long CSR initiative, Goa Dairy has been offering a free milk packet for every hundred empty milk packets as their way of being socially responsible.
The Goa Diary buyback scheme
Why it hasn’t been popularised is a mystery, but over the last 15 years, Goa Dairy has been the only dairy company in the country that has been serving ‘free milk’ in the form of one 500ml milk packet for every 100 empty packets returned to the dairy. While the public at large is not aware of the scheme, many educational institutes have been using the scheme as a way of getting students to recycle, and are in turn major contributors to the recycling process.
As per information in a report carried out by Navhind Times reporter Nirgosh Gaude, the dairy receives around 34.08 lakh used milk pouches per year from its customers which includes educational institutes and in return, the dairy has been providing milk worth Rs 8 lakh (around 17,000 litres) per year under the Waste Management Scheme.
A good start, but a long way to go
Collecting the empty milk packets is a great start, but where does it go? Well, it turns out that Goa Dairy earns a decent 3 to 4 lakh Rupees a year by reselling the empty packets that they receive to plastic granule manufacturers. The earnings could be substantially more with more awareness since Goa Dairy sells approximately 3.60 crore milk packets annually, of which they manage to collect only 34.08 lakh empty packets which is a mere 8 to 10 per cent.
For some reason, the promise of free milk just doesn’t seem to be appealing enough to the average household. Marketing in-charge of Goa Dairy Sushant Goankar said that there are very few people who are environment-friendly. Moreover, they feel that receiving a free 500ml packet of milk in exchange for 100 empty packets is not such a big deal. Goankar feels that the state government needs to step in and provide support to help offer a more lucrative scheme that will entice people to recycle. Thankfully for now the educational institutes have been pitching in to pick up the slack, and have been making optimum use of the scheme, so much so that it is part of the curriculum in some schools.
Get them while they’re young
The scheme is pretty simple. Collect 100 empty milk packets, and visit any Goa Dairy booth (of which there are 180 across the state) between the 15th and 30th of the month, and exchange it for a fresh 500ml packet. Around 200 educational institutes across Goa have been participating in the free milk exchange for years now. Some schools that have the NSS program carry out an assignment where the students are asked to collect 365 empty packets in exchange for marks. These empty packets are in turn given back to Goa Dairy who sponsor school functions and other programmes by providing flavoured milk or other products – a win-win for both institutions.
Goa Dairy has been actively promoting its waste management and free milk scheme in schools and colleges. Institutes like Government College at Khandola; Ameya Higher Secondary School-Curti, Rosary College-Navelim, and Carmel College-Nuvem have been the top-most contributors. It’s really not that difficult to hold on to the empty milk packets and exchange them. If the kids can do it, then we all certainly can.
What do you think of this scheme? Were you aware that it existed? Start a conversation by leaving a comment below.