Sustainable voices

The Modern Milkman

Simon Mellin, The Moden Milkman

Who, What, Where?

Simon Mellin, CEO & Founder at The Modern Milkman. With a passion for farming and roots in agriculture, I’m driven by a mission to grow a sustainable business whilst supporting local farmers and reducing environmental impact.

What was your a-ha moment that made you become engaged in sustainability?

My friends and I were watching Blue Planet, when we realised the scale of the plastic problem. When David Attenborough called for action to combat plastic waste in our oceans, people were crying out for an alternative way to shop. Our return and reuse milkround was the perfect response. We started as a group of friends running our own local milkround before expanding to a network of milkmen and women connecting independent dairies and suppliers with their communities.

What is your single best tip for someone who wants to do more for the environment on a personal level?

It can be overwhelming at the start - but every small thing you can do will add up. If you drink on average 4 pints of milk a week, a switch to glass-bottled milk seems like a small change, but that’s saving 208 plastic bottles a year.

What do you think will be the legacy of your generation?

I think there’s a shift towards people standing up for change. It’s no longer about businesses being purely for profit, it’s not purely a profit generation, we are beginning to value different things and not just money!

What is the most critical technological breakthrough that needs to happen for the world to reach the 1,5 degree goal?

It’s vital that people understand, and buy into the change that is required to reach this goal. It’s not about technology alone, it’s about changing attitudes and behaviours so we are all working towards the same goal.

What will this breakthrough demand from us as a society?

This will ultimately mean that as a society we need to accept things cannot remain as they are now, we need to accept that a change must happen.

What is your company’s most impactful contribution to fight climate change?

We want to reduce waste, not only plastic waste but also food waste. Plastic pollution is a huge issue that isn’t going away, it has a negative impact on the planet as it reduces biodiversity in the oceans, contributes to global warming (through the incineration of plastics) and impacts short-term human health (invisible plastic in food and drinks). By giving consumers access to return and reuse packaging, we can help reduce this plastic waste. So far we have saved 11.8 million plastic bottles from landfill - and as we grow we are hoping to keep increasing this number! The amount of food waste produced is unacceptable, does not support zero hunger and is a misuse of the planet’s resources. That’s a huge amount of Co2 that’s being wasted for no reason. By offering fresh groceries delivered directly to the doorstep up to three times a week we can prevent good food going to waste.

In your industry, what do you think will be the most groundbreaking change over the next 10 years?

I believe that there will be a shift to stop using plastic in packaging. We’ve already seen this in supermarkets charging for plastic bags and offering refill stations, but this change needs to be implemented on a wider scale - before it’s too late.

Which brand (in general) do you think is at the forefront when it comes to sustainability?

I really admire Brewdog. They are at the forefront of innovation in their space, and everything they do links back to their B-Corp status, and how they can use their business to build a more inclusive and sustainable world. I also think Patagonia are leaders in their space. Their business is built on core sustainability goals, and they ensure that they use their prominence for good. They use their resources to do something about the climate crisis.

What makes you climate positive about the future?

The next generation is concerned about how they can make a positive impact on the environment, they are born wanting to make a difference and overly aware of the issues that we face. They are the future and the people who will help us make the critical changes we need to see soon.

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