Glasgow moves towards zero-waste milk options

Determined to raise awareness around zero waste, we caught up with Laura Young about the impact her talk has had almost instantly, and how it has continued to spread into unexpected positive outcomes. This is what Laura had to say.

After speaking, I was surprised to see people taking pictures at the end of my talk, with many sharing social media posts of the vast amount of plastic milk bottles I had on stage. I think ending my talk with such a massive example of making one switch, people were able to connect to the issue of single use plastics immediately and react.  My speaker coach helped enormously to meet my goal; I wanted to give people a fresh and simple look at the power one person can have to make an impact.

In the run up to speaking at TEDxGlasgow I contacted a few dairies in Glasgow that I knew were going to be doing milk in glass, and also wrote a blog post that people could find to take action immediately, pointing to places where people can take impactful action with ease. Lot’s of great responses, feedback and activity on social media with people contacting me, sharing that they have made the milk switch.

The dairies also got in contact saying Laura our phones have been ringing because people are finding what you have written, watching your talk, coming to us to switch. It was all crazy and I couldn’t have foreseen that so many people would switch to getting milk in glass bottles, but they have and it is great!  Workplaces have even did it – a Glasgow based office that has made the switch to milk in glass because of being at TEDxGlasgow and seeing my talk, as have a few others, and for me that’s amazing. An unexpected outcome was seeing some of the dairies using the talk to promote their milk in glass bottle deliveries, others going a step further by using influencers to spread awareness in their zero waste options which is a change to their traditional marketing, which is fantastic. 


Blue planet was the big moment where everyone reacted and started to realise that plastic was a big issue, but people didn’t relate it to their everyday living. Thoughts went as far as plastic is bad, we should make sure we put things into the right bin and recycle. So I think my talk pushed people a wee bit further forward, with some saying they thought recycling was enough but going further to think about how we completely reduce our waste or start avoiding plastic altogether has made them think.

Since July I have had many workplaces, schools and conferences inviting me to continue sharing the message about zero waste. Kids are also super interested in climate change, plastics and the environment, so it is good to be a potential role model for them. Furthermore I was invited onto BBC Reporting Scotland, who got in touch after seeing my talk and asked me to cover the issues with single use plastics as part of a TV show, all very exciting!

“…people have switched to milk in glass, but I hope they don’t stop there and go above and beyond, looking at what else in their own life can make a difference”

The 2,000 people at TEDxGlasgow has led to a whole new selection of professionals and people in senior roles that can make a bigger impact by investing in changes within their lives and careers, and as a 22 year old it is nice to know they were hearing me talk.  It has been an overwhelming and positive journey as speaking at TEDxGlasgow has led to all of this positive impact and amplified my message. As a result I am more confident that what I’m saying is important and people are going to remember it, which is great as a young person. Looking back I forget what a privilege it was to be part of a TEDx event, which shows as I have recently started my new job two within weeks of completing my masters, for which I feel so lucky as no one else in my year has been able to get work as fast as me.

My main thing at the moment is non tangible change, thinking about hidden things, such as fast fashion, food waste, carbon footprint, eating more plant based are such examples. It takes time to change perceptions, and so far people like my blogs suggestions and switches are easy, they don’t need to go the whole hog, (pardon the pun!) but small changes can make an impact.

Excellent that people have switched to milk in glass, but I hope they don’t stop there and go above and beyond, looking at what else in their own life they can make a difference with. Many have asked for more tips and I continually feed the appetite to act for people who follow me, but I could talk about so many different aspects of living environmentally. Thank you to everyone who has acted so far, keep sharing the message and keep it going.

Fantastic impact our audience has made already. Have you been inspired to act on Laura’s talk, or any TEDxGlasgow speakers? Let us know what you’ve been doing at [email protected]

  • Written by Zeb Ahmed
  • Posted on September, 16 2019

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