The iconic orange Turner’s milk crate. You’ve no doubt seen them stacked outside your corner convenience store, just waiting to be picked up by the local Turner’s Delivery Driver. While plastic crates are widely used in the dairy industry, constructing them from orange plastic is quite unique. Over the years our crate material has changed from wood to metal wire, and finally to the orange plastic that has become an icon in the city of Pittsburgh. Drivers load the empty crates from their deliveries to be returned to the dairy where they will be sanitized, filled with fresh product, and reloaded onto the trucks for the next day’s route.
We’ve been using these iconic crates to deliver milk and tea products since the 1980s for more reasoning than just looks. Reusing crates has allowed us to prevent approximately 6 million cardboard boxes from going to the landfill or needing to be recycled in 2021 alone. The crates themselves are even partially constructed of recycled materials. Each year, Turner’s sends damaged crates back to the manufacturer to be melted down and repurposed into new ones, reducing the amount of new plastic that must be created. The typical lifespan of a Turner’s milk crate is 5-10 years, but if you look closely on the production line you can spot some of the original stock!
Even with all the initiatives Turner’s takes to maintain a closed loop recycling model with crates, $570,000 was spent in 2021 to replace crates that were not returned to our plant. This cost has doubled over the last 7 years. Returning a Turner’s crate is simple—just drop it off wherever you buy your favorite products. Click here to see what else we are doing to be more environmentally friendly!