Club Life – Magazine Article




How an Aussie invention has
reduced the consumption of
plastic milk bottles.


Venue Featured:

AUSTRALIA’S love affair with coffee is well-known. According to McCrindle Research 27 per cent of Australians indicate they can’t survive a day without it. The Australian café and coffee shop industry is estimated to be worth $9.8 billion. Vittoria Food and Beverage alone sells approximately two million cups of coffee per day in Australia.

With this obsession, however, comes waste. The #waronwasteAU movement shone a spotlight on the fact that coffee lovers in Australia send over 2.6 billion coffee cups to landfill each year. The movement has led to the rise of the ‘Keep Cup’ and other initiatives to reduce the reliance on these non-recyclable coffee vessels.

But have you ever thought about how many single-use, two litre plastic milk bottles are used by cafes and coffee shops when making these 2.6 billion coffees? A small, but busy café can easily go through over 500 litres of milk a week – that’s 250 single-use milk bottles per week or 13,000 milk bottles per year from a single cafe.

Enter a small team of designers and engineers from Australia by the name of Six Simple Machines. Almost 10 years ago, Six Simple Machines designed and built The Juggler – the world’s first purpose designed and built milk dispenser for the café environment. The first system was designed and created for a tiny 8 sqm hole-in-the-wall cafe called ‘Sideshow’ in Sydney. The team spent thousands of hours designing, prototyping and testing components that would eventually become part of The Juggler cafe milk tap system.

The innovation extended beyond the machine itself. Milk producers across the country came on board, designing and producing new 10 litre milk ‘bladders’ to fit the system. The typical Juggler configuration can hold up to eight of these bladders at any one time, replacing 40 two-litre bottles and the need for traditional, bulky fridges to store the bottles. Open milk bottles also no longer clutter bench space around the coffee machine.

Not only do these bladders replace the need for plastic milk bottles, the volumetric dosing patented by The Juggler results in precise measurement of milk each and every time. This means excess milk is not poured and heated, which in the past would be tipped down the sink.

To date, Six Simple Machines’ milk bladders have reduced the consumption of single-use two-litre plastic milk bottles by over 18 million units.

Among the hundreds of cafes used the system across the country is Bankstown Sports Club’s Cornerstone Coffee & Kitchen.

Bankstown Sports Executive Chef Helmut Gundendorfer says The Juggler has made a huge difference to productivity in their busy café.

“Cornerstone Coffee & Kitchen is our busiest dining outlet and is open from 7am until late every day. We have a constant flow of customers throughout the day and we need to be able to serve these patrons in a timely and efficient manner,” says Helmut.

“The Juggler system has cut out all of the milk bottle handling that used to happen behind the counter and has freed up a lot more space for our staff to work. It has also allowed us to reduce our plastic waste, and our milk wastage, which means we can be more sustainable with our café operations.”

The emergence of The Juggler in club venues is part of a wider industry commitment to environmental sustainability. Many venues have banned plastic (utensils, straws etc), while others have introduced eco-friendly tableware, LED lighting and improved recycling practices. Some have gone even further, installing solar panels on roofs and in a few cases, building tri-generation power plants on club land. The war on waste has well and truly begun.