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Couple Buys 1970s Milk Float for $2,700 on eBay, Becomes Zero-Waste Mobile Shop

If there’s a will, there’s a way, they say, and it rings true in many scenarios. Especially this one. A couple from the UK wanted to open their zero-waste business, and the way they did it was via an out-of-service milk float from the 1970s, which became their mobile shop.
Milk Float Becomes Zero-Waste Mobile Shop 8 photos
Milk Float Becomes Zero-Waste Mobile ShopMilk Float Becomes Zero-Waste Mobile ShopMilk Float Becomes Zero-Waste Mobile ShopMilk Float Becomes Zero-Waste Mobile ShopMilk Float Becomes Zero-Waste Mobile ShopMilk Float Becomes Zero-Waste Mobile ShopMilk Float Becomes Zero-Waste Mobile Shop
Lisa Jones and her husband Stephen Thomas (Thomo) spotted a 1970s milk float on eBay on a Sunday morning. The asking price was £2,000 (approximately $2,700), and they bought it before they could talk themselves out of it.

The milk float was built in 1972, but it was retired from deliveries. The upside was that it was still functional.

When it arrived, they were surprised to find it was in serious need of extra work, and they contacted milk float restorer and repairer John Lenehan, based in Oxford. The work took about a month. When it was ready, the two found a clever name – Ernie, inspired by comedian Benny Hill's song, Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West).

But, despite its old age, Ernie is still running on its original battery, and, managing a modest 18 miles per hour (29 kph), it has the potential to travel for up to 40 miles (64 km) before needing to be charged. It pretty much works like an electric car and can be charged with the help of an electrical cord.

"It's not the fastest milk float in the West, it has to be said," Lisa told My London News. Ernie has a lot of space to carry about 130 sustainable products that include cereal, pasta, spices, oat milk, cleaning products, and eco-cleaner essentials.

That’s how the couple built their business, The People’s Pantry, which delivers zero-waste shopping in Northern London since August 2021. They usually keep Ernie in one place for “street visits,” and have added a new vehicle for delivers. That would be Eric, their “carbon-neutral friend,” a repurposed Royal Mail delivery bike.




 
 
 
 
 

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