The Anonymous Widower

Re-Use Rather Than Re-Cycle

I remember in the 1970s or 1980s hearing the Research Director of Pilkington on Radio 4, giving a defence of using glass as packaging.

He argued that one of the problems with glass coffee jars and sauce bottles was that after use and a quick wash, they looked like they could be refilled with new product. In those days, coffee jars were often used for the storage of small items like screws, clips and dry foods like rice and pasta.

Now we’ll buy a designer jars, like these from IKEA.

In those days a lot of milk and beer bottles were returned to the dairy or brewery, but are we going to send empty beer bottles back to some of the exotic places from where they came.

The Research Director argued, that the best thing to do with glass bottles was to smash them up and re-use for other purposes.

One of the uses he discussed was to use broken glass as an aggregate substitute in road construction. This does happen and I’ve read of by-passes being constructed on a bed of broken glass and seen broken glass being used under paving slabs.

Glass came from materials dug out of the ground and it’s going back under.

He also said that to create new bottles was cheaper, than reusing bottles, unless there was a direct link, like milk rounds from a dairy.

This morning on wake Wake Up To Money, they were discussing cutting the use of plastics. So I sent in the following text.

I wonder if black-plastic ready-meal trays could be replaced with a light-weight glass variant. Along with bottles, they would just be washed and crushed after use for aggregate. Several roads have been built on broken bottles.

It was read out.


  • We drink a lot of beer that comes in glass bottles.  One of my beer bottles from Marks and Spencer weughs 280 grams.
  • They would be oven-proof, microwave-safe and freezable.
  • You could eat your meal out of the dish!
  • They might save on washing-up time.
  • They could go in the dry-recycling after a quick rinse.

But above all, they may have other uses.

I also suspect that the other pakaging could be similar.

Could a piece of plastic be glued to the tray in the same way?

My idea is probably total rubbish!

But some of Marks and Spencer’s pies already come in just an aluminium tray and a cardboard box.

They need to be cooked in an oven and are not microwavable.

The pie goes down the gullet and the aluminium tray and the cardboard box, go into the dry recycling.

One thing I will be right about, is to say that there are some clever packaging scientists and designers out there, trying to create a freezable ready-meal, that can be cooked in a microwave, that isn’t protected in anything that can’t go direct in the dry recycling.




April 26, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Design Crime – Milk In Plastic Tubes

i got my morning cup of tea on the Caledonia sleeper, with milk in plastic tubes.

A Design Crime - Milk In Plastic Tubes

A Design Crime – Milk In Plastic Tubes

I hope the young man, who first designed this abberation, is truly sorry for what he created.

I say young man, as nobody over fifty starting to feel the aches and pains of life would have created this design.

It was certainly a man, as any woman, who had worn nail polish, would probably have discarded the idea.

Years ago, when I chewed my nails, I certainly wouldn’t have been able to open these awful containers.

They should be consigned to the dustbin of history and I declare them a design crime.

June 22, 2016 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Marks And Spencer Now Do Goats Milk

My food shopping, has got a bit easier, as I’ve now found that Marks and Spencer have been stocking goats’ milk for some time.

Marks And Spencer Now Do Goats Milk

Marks And Spencer Now Do Goats Milk

This now means that the only staple I buy that is a bit difficult to find is my preferred Breakfast Cereal, which I can get in most Sainsburys’ stores and the excellent Waitrose at Canary Wharf.

So now most of my shopping can be done in one place, either a good Marks and Spencer or a larger Waitrose.

They may be nice people in Waitrose at the Angel, but I shan’t be sad if I don’t visit again, with its difficult to use plastic bags on the self-service tills. If I need to shop at the Angel, there’s always the small Mark and Spencer there, with its gluten free quiches and scotch eggs and excellent bakery products.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Good Reason For Goat’s Milk

When I went away to Geneva, I left some goat’s milk in the fridge, so I could have a drink of tea on return.

A Good Reason For Goat's Milk

A Good Reason For Goat’s Milk

As you can see it was five days past its sell-by date.  And perfect!

Goats obviously know how to keep their milk fresh.

May 21, 2013 Posted by | Food | | Leave a comment

An Advantage Of Goat’s Milk

I’m going away on Monday and will be back late on Saturday. As I like a cup of tea, when I get back, I bought some new goat’s milk today.

An Advantage Of Goat's Milk

An Advantage Of Goat’s Milk

Note that the sell-by date is the 14th April, so it should be good when I return on the 13th.

April 7, 2013 Posted by | Food | | Leave a comment

Drinking My Way Back To Health

I got severely dehydrated in this house, due to the high solar gain , which caused temperatures of over thirty with zero humidity.

On the One Show on the BBC a few weeks ago, a guy from Loughborough University, suggested using milk as an electrolyte to help athletes recovery. Searching the Internet, found a few serious papers on the subject from reputable Universities.  Since then, I’ve been drinking a couple of glasses of goat’s milk each day and my various pains and bad throat seems to have calmed down.

Last winter, I didn’t suffer to the same extent, but I did remark to a doctor, that I felt cappuccinos helped.

Obviously, the air-conditioning is helping too and the temperature now is about 24°C with about a 50% humidity.

August 18, 2012 Posted by | Food, Health | | 1 Comment

Coeliacs and Goat’s Milk Products

If you want to read an interesting take on health, go to DogtorJ’s web site.  He is an American vet, who is also a coeliac, and uses his insight to try to explain the health or should it be unhealth around him.

Here’s what he says on goat’s milk in a section called The Answer. Read it!

Wheat had an amazing history and clearly played a major role in shaping the medical conditions that would follow. But, the same thing happened with dairy products. Before 1500 A.D., the principle sources of milk and its derivatives were sheep and goats. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans demonstrated their understanding of the true value of these animals by elevating them to the heavens. The sheep was honored for it’s wool and milk and given the astrological name Aries. Capricorn, the goat, was valued for its milk. In fact, part of the name given to this honored creature meant “foster milk”. The ox, Taurus, was deified for his work in the fields. It wasn’t until much later that man veered from his natural course and chose to mass-produce cow milk.

In fact, it wasn’t until the middle of the second millennium that this took place. Somewhere between 1300 and 1500 A.D., our ancestors decided to go into the dairy industry using cows. A decisive factor had to be the usual motivation for most that we do as humans, supply and demand. The corollary to this is ignorance and greed. Suddenly, there was a demand for greater and greater quantities of milk and the cows larger udder was a tempting source. The rest is history.

The main problem with this seemingly logical yet devastatingly ignorant decision was that there was a vast difference between cow milk and that of its predecessors. The protein, fat, mineral, and vitamin content as well as the pH buffering qualities were all different. Some of these differences were subtle; others would be the difference between tolerance and intolerance. Goats milk was much more digestible, forming smaller curds and being lower in the indigestible components such as lactose. However, the most vital difference would not be discovered until the days of immunology and quantitative analysis arrived.

Now we know that the biggest difference between cow and goat milk is the absence or low quantity of one protein fraction, alpha S-1 casein. Understanding of this dairy protein not only serves to explain the lower allergy rate to goat milk, but also sends us in the right direction on our search for the culprit behind other immune-mediated food issues. Casein makes up 80% of the protein in cow milk. In bovine milk, 75% of the casein is alpha casein. In goat milk, the majority is beta casein. The dominant component of the alpha casein in cow milk is the alpha S-1 casein, the culprit we just identified as being responsible for most immune reactions, including milk allergies. There are other differences in protein concentrations, including those lactalbumins in the whey portion, but we will focus later on casein as it relates to the induction of villous damage in the small bowel.

The milk history lesson doesn’t end here. The reader is directed to remember the possible relationship between the advent of common wheat and the start of then Dark ages because history repeats itself. The first pandemic of plague occurred shortly after wheat’s creation. The second pandemic of plague, by far the worst of the three, immediately followed the introduction of cow milk. This was a phenomenal coincidence to me. This devastating epidemic known as the Black Death started in Europe in approximately 1300 A.D. and killed one fourth of its population. The pandemic occurred in 1400 and spread across Europe into Asia wiping out nearly 40 million people. Just as the dairy industry was getting into full swing in 1600 in England, its true land of origin, the Great (bubonic) Plague of London occurred, killing another 100,000 people. The third and last pandemic occurred in the mid 1800s in China, causing over 20 million deaths over a 75-year period. Had milk and wheat finally reached their land?

On reading this, I decided that if I must have milk products, then I would use goat’s milk products where I could.

So I switched to the Waitrose goat’s milk and use St. Helens Farm cream and yoghurt.

I think that I feel better, but how would I actually prove a scientifically correct proof of it?

Incidentally, I always find that goat’s milk lasts a lot longer than cow’s.

July 5, 2009 Posted by | Food, Health | , | 5 Comments