Will New Square Milk Jugs At Wal-Mart, Costco Save The Planet? Or Spill Your Milk?

Wal-Mart and Costco have something new they’d like you to try— a square milk jug. The NYT says the new square jugs “are cheaper to ship and better for the environment, the milk is fresher when it arrives in stores, and it costs less.” So what’s the catch? Apparently, while the new jugs are helping cut costs, they kind of suck at pouring milk.

“I hate it,” said Lisa DeHoff, a cafe owner shopping in a Sam’s Club here.

“It spills everywhere,” said Amy Wise, a homemaker.

“It’s very hard for kids to pour,” said Lee Morris, who was shopping for her grandchildren.

Sam’s Club is offering milk pouring lessons complete with free cookies, in an effort to help acclimate consumers to the milk jug of the future:“

Just tilt it slowly and pour slowly,” Ms. Tilton said to passing customers as she talked about the jugs’ environmental benefits and cost savings. Instead of picking up the jug, as most people tend to do, she kept it on a table and gently tipped it toward a cup.

Mike Compston, who owns a dairy in Yerington, Nev., described the pouring technique in a telephone interview as a “rock-and-pour instead of a lift-and-tip.”

Demonstrations are but one of several ways Sam’s Club is advocating the containers. Signs in the aisle laud their cost savings and “better fridge fit.”

Has anyone tried these new square jugs? Were you able to pour it? Or were you crying over… um, your inability not to spill milk?

Solution, or Mess? A Milk Jug for a Green Earth [NYT]

(Photo: David Maxwell/New York Times)

Comments

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  1. joemono says:

    Really? Milk pouring lessons… Really? I love this country.

  2. MikeB says:

    I think there is a lot of crying of spilled milk. I have used the jug from Costco and have had no issues.

  3. MissTicklebritches says:

    I’d be willing to make the effort to pour more slowly if it would mean less plastic waste. Unfortunately, most consumers are so spoiled by convenience and unwilling to make such adjustments.

  4. Thrashy says:

    I’ve used these a few times before. It’s a jug. it has a hole in the top, you pour milk out of it. It’s not that hard, really. The mouth is a little large, maybe, but it’s not like some fundamental law of milk-pouring has been altered or violated here. What’s the big deal?

  5. Now you’re going to mess with my milk? No. Fuck you, Wal-Mart. I’ll drink beer instead.

  6. The Boy Wonder says:

    A company touting cost saving practices means nothing to me until I see the savings reflected in a lower price. Costco is basically saying, “help us make more money by redesigning the wheel”. Not to mention, how exactly is a plastic jug with the same volume any more green than another? The only way is to make the walls thinner.

  7. ianmac47 says:

    @joemono:

    Well when you are Wal*mart, and your main customer base hasn’t graduated elementary school, of course you need milk pouring lessons.

  8. captainpicard says:

    I work in the logistics department of a major Japanese auto manufacturer. I won’t say who they are but they make a car that rhymes with spamrey. I was talking with some of the packaging guys about milk jugs the other day. They were amazed that the old style milk jug is still around because it is horrible inefficient.

  9. SpdRacer says:

    Haven’t milk jugs always been sorta square?

  10. The Boy Wonder says:

    So Costco reinvented the wheel so that we can help them make more money? Unless the customer sees the cost saving benefits, this is useless. Not to mention the fact that a plastic jug with the same volume will not be any ‘greener’ than another assuming the materials are the same (unless the walls are thinner). I hate the ‘green’ movement seized by manufacturers in an attempt to squeeze a couple more dollars from us.

  11. I’ve been using these for a while with no problem. If you can’t pour milk out of a jug, chances are you struggle with more basic tasks, like not wandering into traffic.

  12. henrygates says:

    I would like to see milk in plastic bags for consumers to take home and place in their own reusable containers.

  13. captainpicard says:

    @The Boy Wonder:

    There’s a lot more that goes into the milk jug’s “greenness” than just the volume of the container. If the jugs themselves fit better into packaging you can ship more using less packaging (which trickles down to less manufacturing of the packaging and less gas to make that less packaging ) which means you can fit more onto the trucks which means you can send less trucks and use less gas.

    I work in logistics and packaging dimensions are such a huge thing. think about how much wasted space there is in the milk cartons. Now think if you can reduce the wasted space.

  14. KhaiJB says:

    I’ll stick with the milkbags up here in Canada… just pop into a jug, snip a corner and pour.. once empty, dispose of bag… less waste, no fuss…

  15. DrJimmy says:

    6 years and counting since I’ve made a personal purchase from the Evil Empire (aka WalMart/Sam’s Club.)

  16. I guess this new design makes them just a wee bit shorter?

    Seems like some very modest space savings to me. But at $4.19 a gallon, when WILL IT END?

  17. yep. they blow. i was half awake at my dad’s house and i went to pour a bowl of cereal… and guess what? milk went everywhere except my bowl. it like explodes out of the lid all over everything. they need to recall that design. i don’t know how you fuck up a milk jug but somehow they managed to do that

  18. Leah says:

    seriously? It looks plenty easy to pour. Why do people resist change? I think this is a great move on the part of companies. And, hey, it’s not like they reduced the volume, right? No shrinkage ray here1

  19. Those don’t look any more difficult to pour than the previous design. If a person needs lessons on how to pour milk, revoke their driver’s license, because a car is CLEARLY too complicated for them.

  20. KingPsyz says:

    You know why a lot of people are complaining about the new jugs? Because they require something many Americans today lack, self control.

    The fact that the mother complained because she couldn’t be arsed to pour her precious snowflake a glass of milk so they ended up making a mess…

    NEWSFLASH!!!!NEWSFLASH!!!!NEWSFLASH!!!!

    THIS JUST IN, CHILD SPILLS MILK, I REPEAT CHILD SPILLS MILK, FILM AT 11… THIS IS NOT A REPEAT OF THE EARLIER STORY APPEARING HERE FOR SINCE MILK WAS PLACED IN CONTAINERS…

  21. ophmarketing says:

    I love the Costco jugs. The fit in the fridge nicely, and they’re easy to use. Of course, I also get milk in glass bottles, too. Could it be that some people are just morons?

  22. ??v???ë???v? says:

    @Ash78: They’re taller.

    @mandiejackson: Yes, they do.

  23. To be fair to the complaints, this does look pretty rough for the first 1/3 of the bottle. Just a few degrees of tilt and it will start pouring out (while the traditional design would at least require tilting to clear the container itself…say, 20 degrees?). Seems inherently flawed. I don’t see it lasting long.

    What’s the largest quantity that can be put into a squared-off cardboard container? Half gallon? Or just a quart?

  24. mizmoose says:

    It’s hip to be square!

  25. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @joemono:
    I find the instructions on the 2 way envelopes worse!
    When I need instructions on how to open an envelope, the envelope is the problem, not me!

    @The Boy Wonder:
    If you read the article, you’ll see that there is a major saving as the cases are eliminated. The milk is stacked with cardboard separators & then shrink wrapped. No cases to haul, no cases to return, no cases to wash, which uses a lot of water, & none are stolen to use as storage in homes & garages.
    They also get more milk on a truck, meaning less fuel to haul it.

  26. SkokieGuy says:

    I want to know how the milk is ‘fresher’ when it arrives to the store – because of a change of shape?

  27. bohemian says:

    People are complaining about these? I can’t imagine the national tragedy if the entire country started using milk bags all at once. Those take a bit of skill if you don’t use the official bag pitcher.

  28. ohiomensch says:

    We used these milk jugs to do continental breakfast for a conference. They are very flimsy. One person bumped it against the edge of the table the seams split open and milk spilled everywhere.

  29. dirtleg says:

    We have been using these for several months and I noticed the “spill factor” right away. I though it was just me. Having used them for a while now I think the glitch is in the size of the opening. It is considerable larger than the old jug design and so the content tends to pour faster than we are used to. I am still perfecting my technique pouring with these new jugs. Perhaps if they were to make the opening a bit smaller it would make them more manageable. Even so, the spills are more a nuisance than a big deal. Nothing to cry over. (sorry, had to do it)

  30. fett387 says:

    We fear change.

  31. @Ash78: 4.99 a gallon? Where the heck do you live? I paid 2.99 for a gallon last night. Must be our midwest sensibility. (Or our dairy farms.)

    In France (and probably elsewhere), they put milk in easily transported cardboard boxes that don’t even need refrigeration. Sure, you can gripe about preservatives or pasteurization, but hell, if you want to cut costs…

  32. bobfromboston says:

    @The Boy Wonder: I can only assume you didn’t read the story but felt the need to make an unsubstantiated comment anyway.

    More jugs can be fit in a crate, reducing the space required and thus reducing shipping costs and fuel use. The process requires 60-70 percent less water, according to the dairy, which is obviously good for the environment. And Sam’s Club can store 224 gallons of milk in the space that previously held 80, reducing refrigeration requirements.

    And finally, the cost of a gallon of milk is actually less to the consumer, according to the story you didn’t read.

  33. @captainpicard: @Greasy Thumb Guzik: So what happens to all the plastic that was used to make the milk crates? If they’re already made, they’re fine. The new stuff is not re-usable, and will end up in the compactor(cardboard) and the trash(plastic) of the final store, not re-used. This is more plastic into the landfills. A lot more.

  34. TWinter says:

    @SkokieGuy: They say that the dairy can process the milk much faster with the new jugs – I assume this is a result of eliminating the milk crates and increasing mechanization of the process. Faster = fresher.

    I’m not sure that I buy this, but that’s the explanation.

  35. MayorBee says:

    I think the green factor is seriously underrated here. You have a small amount of savings with the milk jugs, yes, but the savings adds up. It’s not like we’re talking about a car, like the Nano from Tata. We’re talking about milk jugs. Every little bit helps, you know. Being green could even help some Boobies.

    Just to recap, milk jugs, which are not Tatas, could help Boobies.

  36. TheBigLewinski says:

    Both my wife and I have tried the new jugs (no she didn’t get her tits done, thank you) and have found that they require a modicum of attention else the milk ends up missing the recepticle. I have also found that the milk frequently runs down the side of the jug after dispensing the milk (no, it’s not appropriate to lick the jug.) While it is nice to try out some new jugs once in a while, they need to operate in a manner that we are used too, otherwise things get messy.

  37. That-Dude says:

    @The Boy Wonder: How about you don’t see the costs of higher fuel pass onto you? Really boy wonder . . . Bruce would not be impressed.

  38. battra92 says:

    @SkokieGuy: Cheaper and easier to ship I guess.

    By the way, I was noting how I really don’t drink all that much milk and just how expensive it is to buy a quart of it. My folks buy it by the gallon and so I asked if I could just come down and give them a buck to fill a quart sized bottle whenever I need it. They looked at me funny but agreed it made sense (in a weird way.)

  39. BlondeGrlz says:
  40. @Juice Box Hero: Eveywhere I’ve seen in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic has been about $4 for a couple of years now.

    I haven’t seen $2.99 for milk since about 2003.

  41. @Ash78: I mean 4.19 a gallon. I can’t read today, apparently. Not as bad, but still pricey.

  42. @The Count of Monte Fisto: and voting via a butterfly ballot.

  43. incognit000 says:

    I find these things to be annoying to the point of nonfunctional. If they really wanna save on shipping costs, they should do it the Canadian way and ship it in a bag, expecting the customer to place it in his/her own pitcher, which he/she presumably knows how to operate.

    I actually found the Canadian bag milk to not be much of a bother at all, outside of needing something to put the bag in. But I was only there for a week.

  44. ChuckECheese says:

    @SkokieGuy: It’s fresher because we said so, and you’ll drink it anyway! Security!

    @Ash78: Milk usedta come in gallon cartons–some even had plastic handles for carrying. And you could get these nifty plastic spouts that you jammed and screwed into the top of the carton to create a spigot, much like modern 2-qt cartons. Plastic jugs are lighter and cheaper than cardboard.

  45. pixiegirl1 says:

    I work at costco and my old GM made our store one of the “test” stores so when ever the company would test out new items/packaging we would be one of the first to get it. And let me tell you everyone HATED the new milk jugs we would get at least 10-15 written complaints a day about them and several phone calls too. People were extremely unhappy with them because it’s too easy to spill. Some people would even bring back the jugs for refunds because they spilled more milk than they actually consumed out of them. For kicks and giggles we decided to save the the complaints to see how many we would get in a week by the end of the week we had a stack over a inch thick lol! After about a year of complaints about them they finally pulled them from our store and brought back the “old” milk jugs. Lesson learned: Don’t mess with the design of milk jugs!

  46. logicalnoise says:

    haven’t seen these yet(though I rarely buy milk and never from wal mart ro costco. However I started working PT for a convience store back when i was 14. every hour we had to refill the milk. I always found the milk jug design cumbersome and bloated. Plus that damn things are extremely fragile. I’ve had jugs break after only a 6 in fall. these new ones look a lot more secure and ruable. Plus the diea of chipping everything in card board liners is a lot more green.

  47. br549xt93 says:

    If people don’t like the new jugs, just save some old ones and pour the milk from the square jugs in an old one. Simple solution. Use a funnel if you have to. I know, a lot of work for milk, but it would work.

  48. Landru says:

    I’m not buying the green claim either. Reusable shipping racks replaced with cardboard and non-recyclable shrink wrap?

  49. Angryrider says:

    This is funny. These new jugs look kinda like those oil containers I see at restaurants.

  50. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    @MissTicklebritches: I’m all for it too… but if people need LESSONS* to learn how to pour it then maybe the jug design needed to go back to the drawing board? Did anyone even test it before it got out there? When milk is pushing $4/gal, you’d think they’d get someone who knows a little about fluid dynamics to pour it.

    Besides, the only problem is the top of the jug. I don’t think anyone will claim that it being squarer and lighter is a problem.

    * If there’s a trick to pouring it, why not write it on the jug? Antifreeze has a tricky bottle if you’ve never poured it before… that’s why they all show you the right way to pour it.

  51. Mayor McRib says:

    I’ll give them a try as long as I can go demonstrate the way I pour milk at Costco. That will involve me in my underwear drinking straight out of the bottle. If it passes my test, I am in!

  52. Trust me, I'm a doctor says:

    @Git Em SteveDave thinks a friend with weed is better: Why is filling a landfill even an issue? The US has more than enough spaces for landfills to last 100’s of years. Besides, recycling plastics causes more damage than making new jugs. From the exhaust fumes belched out by the truck carrying the jugs to the recycling center, to the energy used in the recycling process, recycling plastics is an unbelievably inefficient process. The only reason it is done is to make people money. That can actually be said about recycling of any renewable resource. The jury is still out on whether or not recycling does more harm than good. Check out this article for a good breakdown of both sides of the argument, [www.ehponline.org]

  53. cbartlett says:

    My wife and I are intellectual, intelligent people with average hand-eye coordination. And we spilled milk all over trying to use these containers. I stopped buying milk at Costco because of it.

    I’d be all over bringing in my own container and filling it from a bag or something. Not because I’m a hippie but because I’m cheap.

  54. Underpants Gnome says:

    My costco swithced to these several months ago, and just recently switched back. I liked them, they fit in the fridge better. But they did have a bit of a learning curve at first.

  55. weakdome says:
  56. Skankingmike says:

    I drink lactaid milk so the people complaining about milk prices try being lactose intolerant punks

    and my milk is in a square container.. it’s called a carton.. and it’s made out of cardboard.. better than plastic.

  57. Televiper says:

    It may be the case that the old milk jugs are just significantly easier to pour. They are used to a jug that requires elbow grease and little concern to pour from. Where the new jug seems to be the exact opposite. Where you cradle it and gently fill the glass. At this point it seems to be a matter of saying “this container sucks” before thinking “perhaps I should pour differently.”

  58. Bladefist says:

    lol. This country is hilarious.

  59. MickeyMoo says:

    @Juice Box Hero: Have you actually tasted UHT processed tetra pack milk? it’s disgusting. If you’re not an avid user – it’s certainly worth keeping a box on the shelf for the occasional visitor’s coffee or breakfast, but for daily use – no thanks (ick)

  60. ChuckECheese says:

    @dirtleg: Making the pour hole smaller would make the result more…geyser-y. Could be fun though–just hold the cereal bowl about a yard from the jug and let ‘er fly!
    @Landru: The savings will be in shipping costs mostly. Plastic wrap and cardboard are lighter than crates. The new jugs can be packed closer together.

  61. Jesse says:

    @Trust me, I’m a doctor:

    Eventually your planet gets run over with trash forcing the Earth’s population to have to leave on a giant ship sponsored by a big box retailer for hundreds of years.

  62. alumicor says:

    WTF bitching about the container your milk comes in?

    If you can’t pour milk out of a Jug buy it somewhere else. This story is just stupid.

    What’s next people bitching about the container their OJ comes in?

  63. well, for those of you saying that people should just get “used” to the new style, its sort of like figuring out how to ride a bike again. it’s retraining the brain to get used to doing something in a whole new way. it just, sucks. they could easily make a new pour spout that is more user-friendly. i wonder what the milk pouring testing facility conference was like…. did they really think that it was a good design? were there designs before this one that were even worse? god, it’s not that hard folks!

  64. @Trust me, I’m a doctor: As Penn&Teller have shown, only aluminum recycling is viable and useful. Others are a waste of time. The only good use for plastics is when they shred them to make filler. But the main point is that you have all of this EXTRA packaging now in an attempt to cut down the packaging. It just doesn’t make sense.

  65. halftank says:

    The 1st rule of product design is that if you need a tutorial in order to use something, it’s not designed well.

  66. This would be like if they added 10% ethanol to our gasoline and then kept charging us the same price for it! No fair!

    Oh, wait…

  67. @MickeyMoo: Yeah, I had some when I was over there last summer. It wasn’t like freshly squeezed milk, but it wasn’t that bad. I’d drink it.

    I think it could be an alternative to regular milk at a lower price point.

  68. He says:

    For what it’s worth, milk at costco has been $2.75/gallon instead of $4 a gallon. If they just made the mouth of these things smaller, they would be less shitty to pour. I put up with it because the price makes up for the spilt milk.

  69. He says:

    For what it’s worth, milk at costco has been $2.75/gallon instead of $4 a gallon at Shoppers and Giant. If they just made the mouth of these things smaller, they would be less shitty to pour. I put up with it because the price makes up for the spilt milk.

  70. HOP says:

    been using these jugs for a little while and aren’t having any issues…..nice large handle for pouring…..we are good with the jugs………..

  71. smythe says:

    @The Boy Wonder: Maybe you need a lesson in geometry, for the same volume different shapes can have a very large difference in surface area.

    Example: say you need a box with 64 cubic inches of space. you could have:
    4’x4’x4′ which would leave you with a surface area of 96 sq. inches
    4’x16’x1′ which would give you 168 sq. inches

    seems like I just used less carboard to make my box “more square” WOW

  72. snowburnt says:

    the people that have trouble pouring from these are the same people that shop at walmart.

  73. mthrndr says:

    @HOP: Is that what the ladies tell you?

  74. DadCooks says:

    Did anyone check to see if these new “jugs” actually hold a real full gallon?

    This may just be a ploy to start shrinking the gallon of milk just like most other grocery items are shrinking.

  75. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    You know those paint spouts they sell at Home Depot? The ones you can pop onto the hole of those 5 gallon barrels of paint? I wonder if someone will relabel them as “MILK mAIDS” and sell them on late night TV for $9.99.

    I, for one, look forward to the infomercial where they have a black-and-white segment showing people hilarously spilling and shooting moo-juice everywhere and the big flashing red “NO” cross overlay over it.

  76. ekthesy says:

    Someone, somewhere, is going to try to drink milk out of the jug at 2 a.m. and end up drowning as a result of the torrents of milk coming from the aperture.

  77. kidgenius says:

    @The Boy Wonder:
    Not to mention, how exactly is a plastic jug with the same volume any more green than another? The only way is to make the walls thinner.

    Sorry, you seem to have failed in geometry if you feel that way. Surface area can vary drastically when you change a package. Let’s say you need to encapsulate 1 ft^3 of liquid. One container is a sphere, the other is a box. The box has dimensions of 12x12x12 inches, giving a total surface area of 1728 in^2. A sphere containing the same volume would be approx 7.45 in radius, and have a surface area of 697 in^2. That’s over half the amount of surface area, so there would be quite a bit less material required.

  78. Anonymously says:

    These are somewhat more difficult to use than traditional milk jugs. I avoid them when possible.

  79. akede2001 says:

    I get these from Costco.

    You’re an idiot if you don’t know how to pour from it. They don’t spill everywhere. And if anything, you’re going to have more problems with the older jugs when teaching your kids how to pour from them, as they require you to tilt the container much more than any other open containers.

  80. zerj says:

    @The Boy Wonder:

    “Not to mention, how exactly is a plastic jug with the same volume any more green than another? The only way is to make the walls thinner.”

    Actually this isn’t true. The amount of plastic used is a function of the surface area of the container. The amount it holds is related to the volume. Ex If I crush a soda bottle with my hands it will hold a lot less water, but it certainly doesn’t use less plastic.

  81. randombob says:

    everyone complaining that these are not any more green since they hold the same amount of liquid doesn’t quite “get” it.

    For one, that means MORE jugs inside the box, meaning less BOXES shipped, and it all leads to LESS shipping costs.

    It’s the same argument in the post about the liquid vs. powdered detergent: Same cleaning efficiency, but the boxes can be stacked more to a container, meaning less shipping costs.

    it’s not just the amount of packaging for the retail carton, it’s all the packaging and delivery & storage requirements that support the retail package.

    IT IS GREENER.

  82. Red_Eye says:

    You are 100% correct the volumetric size of this Gallon container is bound to be worlds more efficient than the volumetric size of any other gallon container due to its existence in multiple dimensions at the same time!

  83. rellog says:

    So since everyone seems to have an issue with this new design, how about a fix? All they need to do is install either a cap with a pour feature (spout), or an after add-on spout that allows for more control. Or maybe a spout like they have on laundry detergent bottles (not the spicket at the bottom, but the top variety) that will decrease the amount that comes out initially.

    To be honest, I almost always spill the first pour anyway. No one to blame but me for wanting my delicious milk so quickly….
    Which reminds me… I’m out of milk and need to hit the grocery store.

  84. choinski says:

    If people can’t get over the fact that the planet is in serious trouble, and measures to do anything we can to reduce the impact of our lifestyles are met with ‘…But its mildly inconvienient!’, well then I guess we’re doomed.

  85. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    test

  86. kiltman says:

    I can see how this is a problem because of the unusually large hole in the top on the jugs I get at Costco. When I pour the excess goes down my face and onto my shirt…luckily it doesn’t stain.

  87. Steve626 says:

    Try pouring with the opening at the top. It should keep from burping out.

  88. QueenHawkeye says:

    I was babysitting a couple weeks ago, and the house I was babysitting in had those milk jugs.
    Needless to say, those new jugs suck at pouring. Good thing I’m lactose intolerant.

  89. Kerkira says:

    @Trust me, I’m a doctor: That article might be more relevant if it wasn’t 13 years old. I suspect rises in commodities prices have made many of the arguments moot.

  90. Balisong says:

    The milk is NOT fresher! We got some milk from Sam’s and it was spoiled when I first opened it. (I would rather go to Costco, but my mom prefers Sam’s.)

  91. W24x192 says:

    I love these jugs not for the way they hold milk, but since they make good watering cans afterwards. They have fairly large screw-on caps instead of the snap-on caps I’m used to with milk. You can drill holes in the cap, put a small hole in the handle to let air in, and vi-rola, you have a free watering can that is just too damned ugly to steal.

  92. eben56 says:

    Have tried these cartons.. First off, don’t see what makes them so more efficient, but that said, all they have to do is move the mouth about 1/2 inch. Just the usual crap with engineers sitting down to redesign a consumer product with no input from the consumer..

  93. Shadowman615 says:

    OK, so the first time you use it, it turns out it pours a bit differently than the jug you’re used to, so you spill some of it. No shame there.

    But really, that shouldn’t happen to anyone more than once. Don’t blame the manufacturer for your own inability to adjust to minor changes.

  94. eben56 says:

    PS. Anyone who thinks they are getting fresh milk from Costo, Walmart, or their ilk is already deluding themselves. FInd out what the closest dairy is to you and the stores that sell it. My God 25cents more for milk 4 days fresher.. what a concept.

  95. kidgenius says:

    @eben56:

    Yes, because you are such an AWESOME engineer. If you think that these redesigned jugs did not go through some type of focus group, then you are deluding yourself. Options like “moving the mouth 1/2″ probably is not possible.

  96. gjaluvka says:

    Those who are focusing on the spout as the reason this should pour the same are missing the point. Look at an old milk jug – at the top there’s a handle on one side and a defacto funnel on the other three. That’s what’s missing from the new jug.

  97. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @DadCooks:
    The dairies tried a 3 quart jug a number of years ago.
    Some places banned it, saying people would think it’s still a gallon.
    I don’t think it’s around anymore.

  98. Triterion says:

    Did you guys have milk bags in school in like 91′ like we did in Virginia? I remember they tried it for one year to cut down on packaging and they abandoned it after everyone spilled them everywhere… once you opened it, you couldn’t put it down! haha

  99. Poster99 says:

    @Juice Box Hero:

    Right on! In the US the brand of (Ultra High Temperature Pasteurized milk) most often found is Parmalat.

  100. Orv says:

    @Steve626: I’ve been wondering if there’s a trick like that. Kind of like the oil quart bottles. Everyone uses them wrong, pouring with the spout on the bottom and spilling all over. You’re supposed to start with the spout on *top*, giving you more of a chance to aim the first bit. Likewise, antifreeze jugs are supposed to be tipped on their narrow side to pour — they vent better that way. Haven’t encountered one of these new milk jugs yet, though, so I don’t know if there’s a similar trick with them.

  101. I buy organic milk in the old cardboard container…pours just like my orange juice in the same container type.

  102. moore850 says:

    news flash wal-mart, the ancient greeks knew enough not to put liquids in square containers 2500 years ago. Get with the program!

  103. W24x192 says:

    When is Wal-Mart, Sams, Costco, etc, going to go to the giant vat of whatever and we supply our own containers? This means that they save tons on the shipping (they have to move one 500gal vat instead of 1000 1/2gal jugs), and the waste from having to buy new containers each time goes away. This could be done with everything from milk, to water (where I’ve seen it done), to rice, to detergent, to shampoo, and so forth. It may seem a bit nasty, but just how nasty is up to us. Anyway…

  104. wgrune says:

    @The Boy Wonder:

    I hate to get all “mathy” but less physical plastic packaging can be accomplished without making the walls thinner.

    Think of a package of dimensions 1″x1″x10″. The volume of this package is 10 cubic units and the surface area (or amount of plastic required to make the package) is 42 square inches.

    Now, imagine a package that is 2″x2″x2.5″. The volume is still 10 cubic inches but the surface area of this package is only 28 square inches, or a 33% decrease in required plastic.

  105. erratapage says:

    for comparison, milk has been $2.49 a gallon at aldi.

  106. georgi55 says:

    @br549xt93: REALLY br549xt93, I mean REALLY???? If people can’t pour milk from the begging, how do you expect them to do so even with a funnel?

    Our local Costco in VA had these for about a year, then brought back the old ones but even the brand of milk changed.

    I happen to go to another Costco 10 miles away and they still had these horrible jugs.

  107. Concerned_Citizen says:

    A gallon of milk can be heavy to some people or children. This new design is stupid because there are people that aren’t going to be able to control pouring that heavy of a bottle. If they want square what is so bad with using the square jugs already being used for water that lay flat and have a spout on the side?

  108. ChuckECheese says:

    @Skankingmike and @FatalisticDread: Your cartons are coated with plastic. The days of wax-coated cartons are long gone.

  109. jenl1625 says:

    @The Boy Wonder: The article said the price is lowered $0.10 to $0.20 per gallon (varying by store location, apparently).

    @eben56: What’s supposed to be more efficient about these is the way they can be stored and trucked. “Regular” jugs can’t be stacked one on top of another – they have to go in containers that space them out and then hold up a container on top of them. That’s a lot of wasted space, both in the delivery truck and in the store refridgerator.

    These new jugs can be stacked one on top of the other – 4 levels up, then wrap the whole thing in shrinkwrap and throw it on the truck. More can fit on one truck, with increased efficiency, and there are no containers to take back to the dairy.

  110. unleashed says:

    How about bags?

  111. No more milk crates? Won’t someone please thing of the college furniture?!!

  112. kidgenius says:

    @Ash78:

    Guess everything will have to revert to cinder blocks :-)

  113. kidgenius says:

    @Concerned_Citizen:

    By putting the handle further towards the top, and increasing the distance from the corner that the jug rocks on, how does this make it more difficult to handle? Oh, that’s right, you must not have a knowledgeable grasp of physics and instead are just finding a way to dump on something rather innovative.

  114. Xerloq says:

    Milk Pouring Lessons!

  115. radiotowers says:

    As several other people have commented, in Canada, milk is available in bags that one places into reusable pitchers. Pretty easy, and definitely reduces the packaging component. Why don’t we have these in the States?

  116. pudge44 says:

    These things definitely do tend to pour all over the counter if you tilt them up fast. Not to tough for adults to compensate. Kids on the other hand? Get the Bounty ready.

  117. bethanyp07 says:

    It spills if you rush it, just like my husband.

  118. Marketing geniuses. For milk, there was already an environmentally friendly design, recyclable and easy to pour. It’s called the carton.

  119. camille_javal says:

    @Red_Eye: You are 100% correct the volumetric size of this Gallon container is bound to be worlds more efficient than the volumetric size of any other gallon container due to its existence in multiple dimensions at the same time!

    Is this where I go to get milk at Costco, and end up in an a-ha video?

  120. mdoneil says:

    @henrygates:

    They have milk in a bag in Canada (Ontario mostly)

  121. balthisar says:

    New? These have been around a few years now. I like ‘em.

  122. admiral_stabbin says:

    @KhaiJB: I wish my fellow countrymen, women, and children could handle a bag… ;-)

  123. nexweb says:

    Eben56 Costco milk IS local milk. All they do is slap a Kirkland label on the local dairies milk. I know cause I work in one of those dairies! Same with Target and a lot of other stores out there. Don’t be fooled by labels and brands people.

  124. DrGirlfriend says:

    I like that Ms. Tilton is giving lessons on tilting.

  125. baristabrawl says:

    I thought the lid was weird and I drowned my cereal the first time then I poured a glass of milk and it was faster and an adjustment, much like pouring from a 2 liter is different than pouring from a jug.

    The shock was, and don’t tell anyone I live with, the first time I went to drink from the container and almost drowned myself. HOLY SHIT! It was all over me, the floor my shirt my face up my nose…They have cured me from drinking from the container, you’ll all be glad to know.

  126. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    @Orv: YOU ARE CORRECT SIR!

    The issue with the design is that the spout is on the opposite side of the handle. When the jug is full of milk, as you pour you have all the milk ABOVE the spout (in engineering terms, “head”) that is helping to push the milk out of the spout if tilted too quickly. In the conventional design this is avoided by the geometry and design. They would have a lot fewer issues if the spout was on the same side as the handle.

    I presume that as this container empties, it gets easier to pour as there is less head to push the milk and cause a mess. Can anyone substantiate my theory? I’ve never seen these because we don’t have a Sam’s or Costco for mile around.

  127. urban_ninjya says:

    As a ninjya I have stolen milk crates many times during my training. They make excellent dorm furniture. Stack like 20 of them and throw a matress on top, and you have a bed. Put a few down on the floor and you have a handy bench, tv stand, table, etc… Stack them sideways you have instant shelving. And when it’s time to move out, they make excellent devices for moving stuff.

    That said, I can understand why these crates are a waste of fuel, natural resources, time, and money. But what they need to realize is the consumers are idiots that cry over spilled milk. Even though the problem can easily be solved by a pitch or a simple funnel, or even just picking up the cup so it’s right by the lip of these containers, the consumers as a whole will never be smart enough to figure it out.

    I think what they would do is have little flip open lids. (similar to how salt is packaged by a water proof version of it). That’ll give them the best of both worlds.

  128. azntg says:

    No thanks. I hope that jug design won’t replace the ones on sale in my local supermarket.

    I can’t imagine how many times we’d have to clean up after the mess, especially when we first open and try to pour it.

  129. sicknick says:

    Wow. You people complaining about these all must come from Red States.

    We’ve had these jugs in Michigan CostCo’s for a long time now, and I’ve never heard anyone complain. I’ve never had a problem, and it just takes a little more concentration and slowly pouring the jug.

    As a bonus, a gallon of milk is around 2.50.

    And people say living in Detroit sucks :P

  130. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    The claims of “fresher” milk is probably true as well. You ask, “How?” It doesn’t get here any quicker.

    Well, you are right, but the fact that the can increase the number of jugs in a fridge from 80 to 200 means that there is more “thermal mass” in the fridge. As long as the milk starts out at the proper temperature, it will be much easier to keep the refrigeration unit at a constant temperature than if there is just milk and a lot of air. When you open the door, the air escapes, and the refrigerator and the milk has to re-cool the air. More consistent temperature = fresher longer.

    If you can pack a fridge with almost all milk, the high specific heat of the milk does not accept the surrounding heat quick enough for there to be a substantial variation in the fridge temp when the door is opened.

    I use a trick at home to help me keep my extra fridge running as little as possible due to escaped air – I use old milk jugs and fill them with water. The water is not to drink, but instead help to keep the temperature of the fridge regulated. If I need more room, I take the jugs out. You can do the same even more efficiently using these new jugs.

    I’m getting really nerdy, but the reduced surface area of the jug also helps to limit heat transfer, again making the container somewhat better at resisting being heated up on your trip home.

  131. JustinD2515 says:

    The first time I poured milk out of one the milk shot all the way over my cereal bowl. Because I have reasoning skills I changed the way I pour. Problem solved.

  132. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    NBC News ripped off the NYT & ran an story tonight about the new jugs, saying they’re at Sam’s Club.
    But the video showed Kirkland milk.
    Great job Costco flacks!

  133. The new container works fine. You must be a real bonehead not to know how to pour milk from it.

  134. brandyk says:

    My costco sells milk in 2 1-gallon jugs in a cardboard box. I’m interested to see if they’ll switch!

  135. JennQPublic says:

    @baristabrawl: @vitonfluorcarbon: Thanks for the tips!

    I found these at Sam’s Club a few weeks ago, and I love them. They fit on the shortest shelf in my fridge on their side, and are significantly cheaper ($2.80 compared to $3.50-$3.70). Considering that my husband and I go through about a gallon a day (we love our milk), we’ll save $21-$27 a month. Not too shabby.

    Also, the cartons say “TILT & POUR SLOWLY” right next to the lid. If you can’t figure out these instructions, you don’t deserve to enjoy the cool, creamy goodness. Mmm, milk…

  136. Crrusherr says:

    better tan using a bag

  137. ludwigk says:

    @The Boy Wonder: You can make many different shaped containers with the same volume, but different surface areas. In 3-dimensional space, the object with a minimal surface/volume ratio is the sphere. So, spherical milk containers would use the absolute least plastic. They would also be unbelievably strong if made correctly. Of course, they would be hard as hell to handle/pour from.

    And, the other consideration is how well they pack. If you can get objects packed in with no spaces in between, you can ship a lot more per volume of truck, than if your objects cannot pack closely.

    The “traditional” milk container is fairly inefficient with the thin handle and tapered top in terms of plastic usage to volume. They also don’t pack well because you’ll notice if you stack 500 of them in a truck, there’s a lot of air space between the containers. This means that your truck, which can carry a lot more weight, is limited by the shape of the milk container, and you have to take more trips to move the same amount of milk, had you used this new square design.

    @Juice Box Hero: Try living in the SF/Bay area. Over $6/gallon right now, and, yes, California produces more milk than any other state in the US.

  138. ludwigk says:

    @vitonfluorcarbon: If you can fit more jugs of milk in a truck, it “could” reduce the amount of time from cow to market if milk shippers end up moving more milk in less trips. TFA says instead of 4-5 trips/week, they can deliver milk to costco in the square jugs just twice a week. It also says that there’s less labor involved in moving the milk, which could reduce cow to market time.

    But, it also consumes “single use” cardboard and plastic wrap components for the jug stacking, which are recycled afterwards, whereas traditional milk uses reusable plastic crates which must be washed.

  139. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    @ludwigk: Good Point, but wouldn’t the freshest milk be delivered and bought daily? I’m not saying that making “milk runs” only twice a week isn’t the green thing to do, but just saying it’s not exactly equating to freshness. I didn’t think of your point until you made it- Thanks.

    I would hope that they would use corrugated, recyclable cardboard for packaging. Plastic wrap can be recycled, but not at readily as the HDPE milk cartons. My points weren’t necessarily intended to say it was the greatest “green” thing ever, but that there could be some inherent advantages to this design concept.

  140. VOIDMunashii says:

    Wow, I guess I’m in the minority here, but I don’t really have a problem with the square milk jugs. I’ve yet to spill any, and they seem to take up less space in my fridge.
    I was apprehensive about them at first, but I really do not see a big problem with them.

    Mind you, if they go back to the two one gallon packs tomorrow, I’m not going to shed any tears.

  141. brother9 says:

    @Git Em SteveDave needs a Lego advisor: I agree! I also get all of *my* scientific information from TeeVee magicians!

  142. Alex Brewer says:

    So that’s what this is! I saw this a few nights ago when I was babysitting. I still use the smaller cardboard containers at home, but I didn’t mind this, no spilling here.

  143. Hockeypuck says:

    Our Costco switched to these a long time ago, they’ve always worked just fine for me.

  144. jeffimix says:

    @Ash78: It’s a sale, but our local Smith’s often sells all* of their gallon jugs for $2.50 (about every other week).

    * And by all I mean skim/1/2/whole

  145. Bowildhax says:

    I love these containers! I get our milk at Costco in NJ – at $2.99 it’s cheaper than the $4.19 from Stop N Shop and the kids get a kick out of the container. The kids, (11, and 8) can pour from it and they like how they look.

    BTW – I work for a major distributor and our company recycles plastic (the wrap on pallets and shipments) and cardboard. Why? Because we get paid for it. With the cost of materials on the increase, especially plastic wrap, it’s worth not throwing it out.

    Of course, I wonder if my township also gets paid extra for taking my recyclables.

  146. nyaz says:

    It’s been a learning curve, I’ve probably spilt half a gallon of milk. God damn costco.

  147. haimtime says:

    I don’t love the milk containers, but I see why they are doing it, and I agree with it.

  148. Mudpuddle says:

    They moved the hole, again? I think they should focus more on changing the shape of beer bottles, maybe make that hole much larger, and on the side.

  149. A gallon = a gallon.

    Sometimes.

    The current milk jug shape does have some wasted volume issues that could be recovered and filled more effeciently with more milk jugs.

    But the real culprit is the handle. Get rid of the handle (not practical) and there would be tremendous volume savings.

  150. Mudpuddle says:

    I think the milk container would be much more efficient if it were a tube like toothpaste, this way we could squeeze every last drop.

  151. jstonemo says:

    @The Count of Monte Fisto: ROFLMAO! This was by far my favorite comment. I am still laughing 10 minutes later.

  152. fever says:

    My boss has been getting these since probably December at CostCo, and he says they suck to pour from. The handle is badly placed, apparently, and the “spout” / gaping hole in the top is as wide as a 12 oz. coffee cup, according to him. Hopefully he’ll bring one in and I’ll take a picture, but considering that I remember him complaing about them all week last year about them changing to the design, I have no doubts that they do suck. I, for one, vote we go to tall rectangular cardboard packages, which are far more recyclable, and while it can be difficult to make them anything other than unwieldy in gallon sizes, it would certainly be a better option.

  153. AdamG says:

    @randombob: The deal is that they are switching from the old crates to boxes because the jugs are now stackable. You’re not gonna get more jugs in there, but the cases take up less space. The true savings will be in their warehouse labor, since they no longer have to take back the crates and wash them, plus they have an empty truck at the end of the day which can be used for back haul, instead of being full of crates. It may be greener because it should be more fuel efficient, but less green because they are using cardboard instead of reusable crates.

    @Balisong: Freshness would be first due to the handling of the milk from dairy to store, and all points between. This new jug has the possibility to maintain freshness due to less airspace between the jugs during transport and storage, thereby maintaining best temperatures. However, for every hour of milk being kept at 50 degrees, you lose one day of shelf life. And milk is supposed to last beyond the “sell by” date on the carton. Sounds like someone left it on the dock for a while.

  154. TMurphy says:

    To be honest, these spill less for me. Didn’t know there was a problem with these when I first came across ‘em a few weeks ago, but they don’t dribble down the sides as much as the old containers. Since I was a kid I learned bring the bowl/cup to the mouth and tilt, so no new techniques for me.

    As for their claims of a better jug, you have better control over the container since you have a longer lever arm, and can keep it on the table for a greater volume of the milk. The design is also more compact, so less plastic (less surface area), and less surface area means the milk stays colder longer, and therefore helps it stay fresh longer. In fact I had fun trying to come up with all of the inherent advantages before reading the sign that lists them all. I got all but the “easier to fit in the fridge”. Yes, these things make a lot of sense. You can actually pour these and be _lazier_ while at it, so stop complaining please. I hate to sound insensitive but I just can’t see why people think these should be boycotted.

    I might have to contact Costco to let them know I like these containers so they don’t only get negative comments.

  155. ChuckECheese says:

    All this talk about square packaging has shown me how inefficient all my belongings are. The wind (or is it merely psychic pain) howls through oddly shaped items in my home, very few of which are as perfect as a Costco milk jug. I won’t be satisfied until I’m scraping Spaghettio’s out of the corners of a cubed can. Maybe I can hammer all the cans in my cupboards until they are squared off and fit together the way they should, nay, they must. And there’s my dog, just laying there, all splayed out in odd angles and curves like an anarchist–there isn’t one cube on him, not one. He’s all inefficient curves. Do you know how many dogs I could fit in your dog bed if you had the dimensions of a saltine box? Can animals be bred to be stacked like milk cartons?

    @W24x192: I for one will welcome our vat-and-tanker wielding overlords (it will be like the co-op but with fewer hippies).

  156. farker says:

    @captainpicard:

    You should go work at Amazon or Newegg and teach them a thing or two.

    But seriously, I would imagine this redesigned package has thinner walls to save plastic.

    Remember when 2-liter bottles were thick clear plastic with those black thick bases? Packaging and plastics technology has advanced so much in the past 10 years that new bottles are stronger, lighter, and use less raw materials.

    If it saves the company money, who’s to say they have to pay the savings directly on to consumers? This probably allows them to prevent price increases, or at least increase them less. In the name of efficiency, I think this is a great idea.

  157. n1teowl says:

    I have used these containers for a while now. I have to say that they suck to pour from. You have to think about how you pour, and sometimes you just want a bowl of cereal without having to stop and think, “Now tip it gently, pour slowly.” Is it really so much to ask for the regular shape and size? I have ended up with milk on the floor several times, and it’s just one more headache to deal with. If you haven’t used these containers, its easy to say, “you are an idiot if you can’t pour milk.” Just wait until you are forced to use them. Just WAIT…

  158. ShadowFalls says:

    Why when I look at that container I think Antifreeze…

    Seriously, how hard can it really be to pour milk?

  159. HOP says:

    i like ‘em…no problem with the pour……

  160. Cap'n Jack says:

    Oh wow, thank God we have Wal-Mart to bring us the milk jug OF THE FUTURE! I don’t know how we got along without it.

    Whatever, this is a gimmick, and a poor one at that. People won’t buy it when they can’t even pour it, and they’ll go back to the old jugs.

  161. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    @The Boy Wonder:
    Cost savings do not have to be immediately passed to the consumer.

    Companies should be trying to reduce costs to improve profits. If one company does it in an innovative way they should be rewarded. If other companies can do the same thing, they will usually lower costs to win business. This results in prices dropping to the lowest amount that suppliers are willing to accept… Basic economics 101.

    If you don’t like the newer cartons, vote with your dollars and buy different milk. If their milk sales drop, they will either lower their price, or switch the carton back.

  162. LUV2CattleCall says:

    @captainpicard:

    I take back my last comment; Sorry I jumped the gun on nitpicking… Thanks for a concise explanation from a logistics point of view on why this just makes sense!

  163. draketrumpet says:

    @The Boy Wonder: Well, if you had passed physics or geometry, you’d know that the closer something is to a cube, the more volume you get for the surface area. Not to mention, they ship better, which equals less fuel burned per gallon of milk…admittedly, its not much, but better than nothing.

  164. curthibbs says:

    There’s a lot of excuses being made here for a very poor ergonomic design. There’s absolutely no reason the a good designer could not create a stackable milk container that is also very usable. I, too, stopped buying milk from Costco after they changed the container.

    If your going to use the excuse of going green for packaging efficiency, there are a lot more wasteful containers than milk that ought to be replaced. Just think of any product that is designed to make you think you’re getting a lot (like the vitamin or Advil bottle that seems to have a small amount in the bottom of a large container), or products designed to take up a lot of shelf space to crowd out competitors.

  165. synergy says:

    I don’t go to those stores, but just looking at the picture only makes me think that there’s some really clumsy and/or dumb people out there.

    Maybe the U.S. needs to start using things sold in many other countries like milk bags or the vacuum-sealed cartons that don’t need refridgeration as long as it’s unopened.

  166. LUV2CattleCall says:

    Imagine if only Wal-Mart did this….everyone would be flocking to Costco to buy pitchforks…

  167. esc27 says:

    This a great win for the environment. Finally, the milk industry can throw out all those old, reusable milk containers, and switch to new, one use, disposable cardboard.

  168. karlmarx says:

    I am not really sure what the hype is over the milk carton. I purchase my milk at Costco and have found no issues with the new design in pouring my milk. It may not be the most aesthetic looking, but its a gallon of milk.

    Its kind of like when Target redesigned their prescription bottles. No one liked them until they got use to them.

  169. Bryan Price says:

    I’ve been using them for awhile. They are a pain to pour when you first open them. Yotu really don’t know where the milk is actually going to pour. I kind of like the idea, but the spout needs a little better engineering. Not much, but a little. My major issue with them is that it is way to hard to get the seal open. The tabs to grab are too short, and the glue too sticky.

  170. R J says:

    When I first saw these new ‘Squares’ of Milk, I was excited at the shape and space/storage benefits.

    But have to agree, sadly that the pouring experience is messy to say the least. Especially when kids’ hurried, ‘dont-have-time-to-drink-milk-gotta-get-back-to-my-Wii, are involved.

    Even when pouring with the tilt-and-pour method (i did not need to be educated – I have dealt with enough lube jars!! ) there is that little trickle which runs down the spout edge. This then leaves either a pool of milk or a trail of milk spots!

    These ‘Squares’ need getting used to and some additional habits, (like wiping the trickle or the pool). Not so good, when every second counts! :(

  171. coren says:

    These really aren’t that hard, folks.

    Take cup, place perpendicular to opening in top of jug, but under the lip of opening, then tilt both until the milk starts pouring into the cup. No muss, no fuss.

  172. ospreyguy says:

    All it took was the first half poor and I figured it out… Didn’t really need lessons.

    But I am willing to put up with that to save about a dollar a gallon which is about what the savings is for us.

  173. prupie says:

    @Juice Box Hero:
    Juice Box, I’m with MickeyMoo on the French non-refrigerated milkboxes. UHT milk is nice to keep in the basement for an emergency, but it tastes gross. I don’t think it contains preservatives, though, I think it’s just the pasteurization process.
    If they sold bags of milk, I’d buy them. That would drastically reduce the volume of trash I have to deal with, and I’m sure my opposable thumbs and I could figure out storing the snipped bag in a pitcher and pouring from it.