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Bulk Milk

Bulk Milk is a new granting program that donates bulk milk equipment to U.S. schools to support reduction of packaging and liquid waste, and support environmental sustainability in schools.

Applications are closed. Grantees will be announced Fall 2023.

Bulk Milk

Bulk Milk is a new granting program that donates bulk milk equipment to U.S. schools to support reduction of packaging and liquid waste, and support environmental sustainability in schools.

Applications are closed. Grantees will be announced Fall 2023.

This new granting program provides schools and districts with bulk milk dispensing equipment and support, program and marketing materials, and technical assistance.

Bulk Milk is open to school districts across the country, thanks to generous support from our partners at the Posner Foundation.

USDA guidelines for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs require that either low- or non-fat milk be offered with every school lunch or breakfast. As a result, most schools serve milk in either an eight-ounce carton or plastic bottle. With 31+ million lunches and 13+ million breakfasts served every single day—year after year—those cartons and bottles really add up.

This new granting program provides schools and districts with bulk milk dispensing equipment and support, program and marketing materials, and technical assistance.

Bulk Milk is open to school districts across the country, thanks to generous support from our partners at the Posner Foundation.

USDA guidelines for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs require that either low- or non-fat milk be offered with every school lunch or breakfast. As a result, most schools serve milk in either an eight-ounce carton or plastic bottle. With 31+ million lunches and 13+ million breakfasts served every single day—year after year—those cartons and bottles really add up.

At first glance, carton or bottled milk seems convenient. But cartons come with many consequences. According to a recent World Wildlife Foundation report, school food programs provide approximately 275 million half-pint carton servings of milk to students each day, resulting in packaging waste and milk waste if the carton is left unfinished. It’s estimated that 45 million gallons of milk is wasted each school year, roughly 32 cartons per student every year.

The report notes that, “This not only represents a loss of nutrition, but also the environmental and financial resources that go into producing, transporting, cooling, and storing milk. Milk waste from BMDs (bulk milk dispensers) is much lower; only 4.5 cartons per student— saving 248 gallons of water and 30 pounds of CO2e per student annually. That’s equivalent to almost 1.5 times the amount of water the average person consumes on a yearly basis and 33.8 miles driven by a gas-powered vehicle. With 49.5 million K-12 students, this would be the same as taking over 145,000 gas-powered vehicles off the road each year.” -World Wildlife Foundation

In short, bulk milk offers schools a practical pathway to lower their annual costs while also achieving environmental reductions in waste, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and energy use. Students prefer the flexibility to serve themselves only what they need, which helps to reduce waste and increase overall consumption of a key and nutritious staple of the NSLP.

Program Targeted Outcomes

1

Reduce packaging and milk waste

2

Lower school costs (for milk purchasing, disposal, and refrigeration) with cost savings used to procure organic milk

3

Improve student nutrition by increasing overall milk consumption.

Key Benefits

  • Reduced cost for milk (3 to 5 gallon bags cost less than milk in individual cartons)

  • Increased meal participation

  • Flexible, low-waste approach to comply with free-and-reduced lunch standards

  • Milk stays cold and at constant temperature (cartons in an open cooler lose one day of life expectancy for each hour it remains open)

  • Increased consumption of milk and reduced milk waste by students

  • Increased student ownership in food service choices and portion size

  • Significant reduction of solid and liquid waste production which means reduced staff efforts for waste removal

  • Lower disposal costs

  • Reduced school environmental impacts and greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Reduced energy costs

Key Benefits

  • Reduced cost for milk (3 to 5 gallon bags cost less than milk in individual cartons)

  • Increased meal participation

  • Flexible, low-waste approach to comply with free-and-reduced lunch standards

  • Milk stays cold and at constant temperature (cartons in an open cooler lose one day of life expectancy for each hour it remains open)

  • Increased consumption of milk and reduced milk waste by students

  • Increased student ownership in food service choices and portion size

  • Significant reduction of solid and liquid waste production which means reduced staff efforts for waste removal

  • Lower disposal costs

  • Reduced school environmental impacts and greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Reduced energy costs

How to Apply

Eligibility

  • K-12 school districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program with an enrollment of at least 100 students per school site.
  • Schools must have a dish machine to wash reusable cups, and be able to identify a bulk milk bib supplier in their area. See our national list of milk bib availability HERE. (*Note this is not a comprehensive list, if you do not see options in your area, reach out to your current milk and food suppliers to inquire about availability. We will continue to add to this map as more options become available).

Process

Apply by July 31, 2023 (applications are currently closed). Approved schools will be notified of award and shipped grant packages in Fall 2023. Bulk Milk grants (approximately. $5,000 value) include the bulk milk dispenser, dispenser stand, reusable cups, dish racks, marketing materials & training resources.

As a managing partner of Bulk Milk, CAF helps school districts through the application, and fulfillment processes. For questions regarding bulk milk, please contact us at bulkmilk@chefannfoundation.org

Program Flyer

Would you like to share about the Bulk Milk granting program? Download our one pager now!

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