You may not be aware of this, but using a milk-crate for anything other than the purpose of carrying milk by the company whose name is stamped on it, is a criminal offense, serious enough to warrant jail-time in some places.
The industry advances an environmental argument to discourage personal misuse of its milk crates. Every time a milk crate gets siphoned out of the milk supply chain, a brand new milk crate replaces it. That milk crate on the back of your bicycle, the one that you fill with goodies from the farmers market? That probably cost some dairy about $4 to replace, and it cost all of humanity the price of molding another four pounds of petroleum-derived plastic into a milk crate.
There?s probably a doctoral dissertation waiting to be written about the life-cycle costs of a milk crate being put to personal misuse. It would be interesting to compare, say, the environmental cost of misusing a milk crate for hauling farmers market goodies against that of using plastic bags for the same purpose over a long period (some individual crates, Detlefsen says, have been in continuous use since the 1970s).
Regardless, though, if you have a milk crate marked with another company?s name, it belongs to them. As we all hopefully remember from kindergarten, we?re not supposed to take things that don?t belong to us.
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