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Milk Crates

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By Colin Ramsden, September 2005.

Milk crates were and still are most practical storage devices as they are strong, easily stackable and lightweight. They are well fitted and balanced as to resist tipping, and do not require alignment—both sides fit each other—so do not require orientation. Just plonk one on top of another in any old direction, and once fitted will seat fast. Very stackable, very stable. I still have several in my possession!

Crate stacking competition

Interestingly enough, after I had recently moved house, I unpacked several milk crates of stuff and stacked the empty crates out front with the intention of returning them to the local shopping centre (which has several dozen stacks of milk crates outside near the loading bay every day). I thought that I would just add my few to the pile and they would be returned into the milk crate processing system along with the others.

Given that I had only ever collected my milk crates off building siteswhere they would otherwise have been scrapped and lost forever along with the other building construction debrisI feel no repulsion to temporarily retaining those that I had retrieved from building site land-fill for my use until I could return them to their maker.

However, one particular day, before I had finished unpacking them all, there was a knock at the door from someone who rudely and arrogantly told my wife that using milk crates for other than milk business was an offence, and that having them for personal use was stealing, and that they must be returned immediately or he was going to call the police!

Isn't it poor how some people are belligerent to women, but polite to men. Accordingly, he was less bravado when I subsequently met him at the door, and reticently asked that the milk crates be returned. I said "Help yourself", he took them, and promptly left. We've never seen him before or since. I still have several other milk crates I occasionally access, which I had simply restacked into my new shed. Very neat and efficient.

Panda chew crate Port-a-loo potty crate—click for larger view Child playpen crate—click for larger view stand crate—click for larger view plant-a-crate—click for larger view rod-holder crate—click for larger view

Milk crates are put to very many great uses

The engineers which designed this simple plastic box have unwittingly provided a service to society which far outweighs the benefits of such outstanding and practical design to the milk product manufacturers. Not only do the crates fit into the packaging process of the milk processing plant (they have standard conveyor belt attachment sockets) but they can carry and support a standard weight of packaged milk and other dairy products, are lightweight but strong, easily cleanable (good for spilt milk), and most importantly, are stackable and weight supporting. Several fully loaded crates will stack and support the weight of those above.

 

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