It isn’t hard to see why record collectors love milk crates – they are portable, sturdy and just the right size for vinyls. Even retail giant Urban Outfitters joined the bandwagon, releasing their version of the milk crate a couple of years back.
But of course, those hipster crates cost a few dollars unlike the genuine dairy containers. And so, you’d think that it’s a good idea to recycle them for vinyl records. It’s a win-win situation, right? Not exactly. The Pennsylvania Law Act No. 37 says you’ll be imprisoned for 90 days or fined $300 (enough to buy the best record player).
And no, it’s not just in the Keystone State. In most other states, there are laws similar to Pennsylvania’s and the illegal use of milk crates is equally taken seriously. And so you might be wondering: why all the beef with dairy containers anyway? Well, the main reason is that the agricultural industry loses around $80M annually from purloined crates.
Apparently, that “free” milk crate holding your rare vinyl records actually costs around $4 for dairy companies. And with the current resurgence of vinyl records, you could just imagine how much all those “recycled” containers would add up to. Below, we bust a couple more myths about milk crates:
Common belief – Poor old milk crates! They have been abandoned outside my local convenience store / supermarket and are no longer wanted.
The truth – The next time the dairy company delivers milk, they will retrieve the said containers. It’s actually part of a nature friendly closed loop system.
Common belief – It does anyone no harm to use milk crates for my vinyl records.
The truth – You, other people, the environment and companies (basically everyone, actually) suffer the impact of stolen dairy crates. Replacing those milk bins will increase green house gases, as well as drive up the price you pay for milk products.
Dairy companies and the agricultural industry are doing what they can to discourage crate theft. One company even hired a detective to look into the matter, while others have changed crate dimensions so that vinyl records would no longer fit.