They say everything old is new again. While that may generally ring true, it’s no longer the entire story.
New must now be connected.
Take the humble milk float, a cautiously paced battery electric vehicle and firm fixture of early morning life for millions of people before being ushered into relative dormancy by the one-stop-shop appeal of supermarket giants. Yet with today's consumers calling for fresh produce, low emissions and prompt distribution, combined with the desire to recycle, minimize waste and avoid spoiling, doorstep milk delivery is back with a modernized purpose.
Meet The Modern Milkman, established in England five years ago with a commitment to reduce household waste. With hubs across the UK and by working with a network of British farmers and independent suppliers, the company claims to have prevented over 85 million plastic bottles from polluting the planet.
How? By opting for – and tracking – traditional glass milk bottles.
Glass milk bottles can be washed and reused 25-30 times on average before recycling. They are 100% recyclable and can be endlessly recycled with no loss of quality or value, making them an ideal example of items in a closed-loop system.
The good work being done is more than an on-trend environmental push. Much more. It’s also a case study for digitalization.
But how can you digitize a service that boomed decades ago? The answer lies in the form of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology.
With a rich history dating back to 1935, Avery Dennison is a Fortune 500® company that provides, among many other things, RFID inlays and tags to industries worldwide. This includes home and personal care, apparel, logistics, pharmaceuticals, automotive, and food and grocery.
Avery Dennison’s RFID tags enable the accurate and extensive monitoring of glass milk bottles, forming a test bed for packaging, recycling and digital tracking innovation. The Modern Milkman is believed to be the first business to use RFID tagging technology to identify the end-to-end lifecycle of returnable glass bottles in the UK. The result amounts to a classic with a modern twist. It also serves to tell the Avery Dennison story of alignment; bringing together its materials science (think labels), RFID (think tags) and connected product cloud (think digital ID tracking for full transparency) capabilities.
Avery Dennison is also an investor in The Modern Milkman, and harnesses the company’s agility and innovation to test and trial new concepts with the forward looking team.