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Old tech’s new wave, the gadgets of yesteryear making a comeback

Guardian Technology 22 Mar 2020 12:30
Past masters: everything from vinyl to milk floats is still with us. But why is it that we are turning to retro solutions more frequently? Illustration: Phil Hackett/The Observer

Milk floats

Imagine a start-up entrepreneur pitching the traditional milk round to a venture capitalist. “So we’re offering a local, sustainable, subscription-based protein delivery system. And get this: it’s all going to be powered by electric vehicles…” Back in the 1970s, 94% of British households bought their milk this way, but by the 2000s, for the vast majority, it was part of the weekly supermarket shop. It wasn’t technology that killed the centuries-old tradition so much as economic forces: deregulation of the dairy industry and supermarkets pushing plastic bottles. However, milk rounds still account for 3% of milk sales and they are growing in popularity. The revival is mostly down to the “Blue Planet effect” – glass is much more environmentally friendly than plastic. A typical glass milk bottle is reused 25 times. Come to think of it, why aren’t we reusing Coke bottles, too?

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UK Payments CouncilNational AudioNokiaNHS
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