Decisions made at the farm and processing level make a difference.

When discussing going green, I am not referring to pasture-based dairies or profit. Rather, I'm looking at the processing side of producing and distributing milk. Recently, a friend mentioned she purchased milk in bags. An interesting concept, but I have always preferred to purchase my milk in a carton or jug. But, I finally decided to purchase this bagged milk.

The half-gallon bags are in milk crates in the dairy case. And just to the right of these is the same milk packaged in plastic jugs. The biggest difference I noticed was the price: $1.64 for the half-gallon bagged milk, and $2.09 for the plastic half-gallon jug. Same processor, same volume of milk, but nearly a 50 cent price swing!

But, how was I going to pour milk from a plastic bag? Plastic pitchers hung on a rack next to the dairy cooler for those who did not already have this reusable pitcher. Grab a free pitcher, toss the bag of milk in a plastic bag for easier transport, and I was set.

Milk in plastic bags

When I got home, I read the bag's details. Using the milk bag reduces the volume in landfills by 95 percent over other containers. There is also a reduction of 75% in package weight with the bags. So, while the bag may look a bit odd in my refrigerator, it is the same top quality milk, at a reduced price, and is environmentally-friendly. And, the company offers a 5 cent Milk Moola donation to local schools with each bag purchased.

If the producer and processor each make a commitment to reduce the environmental impact, then the dairy industry is doing its share to promote a greener, healthier planet.

On the producer side, our first 2012 webinar, "Milk's shrinking carbon footprint" shared details about how producers can reduce carbon footprint at the feeding level. Yesterday's webinar will be archived for viewing this week at