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Meet Dominic Ryan, who aims to reduce plastic pollution by delivering farm-fresh dairy to your door in glass bottles.


A while ago, Dominic Ryan was out for a morning walk on a beach after a few days of heavy rain – and was devastated by the amount of plastic washed up on the shore. This was his ‘A-ha moment’. “By volume, milk is one of the largest purchases households make,” explains Ryan, owner of new business Restore. “NSW generates 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year, most of which comes from plastic milk bottles.”

Restore grew out of Ryan’s frustration with supermarkets which are failing to give consumers legitimate plastic-free options when it comes to dairy. Even the NSW’s Return & Earn scheme doesn’t include plastic milk bottles. Says Ryan, “I decided to eliminate plastic waste at the source by going back to the old-fashioned but sophisticated, eco-friendly model of the milkman from the 1950s who delivered fresh milk in glass bottles to the neighbourhood.”

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Dominic Ryan, founder of Restore

A call out to 400 local North Sydney residents revealed that most of them wanted change and were happy to back this sustainable model that requires a bit of customer participation. Right now, the suburbs covered are in the North Sydney and Mosman LGAs, but plans are in the pipeline to include the Willoughby area.

Here’s how it works: On Monday, the Jersey cows at an independent farm in Tilba, NSW, are milked. The milk and yoghurt is processed on Tuesday and sent in kegs to Ryan’s community kitchen in Lane Cove on Wednesday. Ryan single-handedly takes care of the sanitising and bottling on Thursday, and then delivers fresh dairy to your door at the crack of dawn on Friday morning. 

Since starting Restore in September 2023, Ryan’s customer base has grown to 70 families with over a thousand glass bottles now in play. Yes, the milk is priced higher than what’s available in supermarkets, but Ryan is hopeful that people will see the value in purchasing a product with a circular business model and that the word spreads through community diffusion. 

Business has expanded to include Greek yoghurt and local cafes like Fiore Bread in McMahons Point have joined the movement, acting as a community hub where customers can drop off their old bottles and collect their fresh milk. Ryan wants Restore to create so much noise that supermarkets are forced to pay attention and make changes for the greater good. 

For more information on Restore, visit their website or Instagram page. 

 

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