On November 14 of 1946, it was reported that there was a shortage of milk bottles in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
It seems that 85% of the bottles distributed by milkmen were never returned. The bottles were typically either discarded or repurposed.
Unfortunately, local dairies were unable to get new bottles due to a glass shortage. Dairyman William Thurman said that he ordered new bottles 6 months prior, but would not receive them for another 8 to 10 months. Paper milk cartons were not an option either, since it was also a shortage of paper at a time.
Phil Smith, of the Red Bank Dairy, stated, “It’s always the same few who return bottles, meticulously. The same many who don’t.”
F. J. Schapper of Sheffield Farms, said, “It’s obvious women are ashamed to return dirty milk bottles. We’ll take ‘em clean or dirty. We’ll take ‘em from under the foundation or fish ‘em out of the drink. We get ‘em back from the trash men and haul ‘em from the dumps.”