A MILKMAN is delighted after his dairy company has been nominated for a prestigious award.

Ecofresh Dairy, which delivers milk to homes across Corringham, Stanford le Hope and Thurrock, has been nominated for the “Heart of Gold” award at The Small Awards.

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Float - Paul Luke's pride and joy

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Options - Paul says he wanted to offer 'something different'

The ceremony, which will be held in central London on May 9, recognises small businesses across the country for their growth, creativity and commitment to their communities.

Business owner Paul Luke, 42, who lives in Corringham, only set up Ecofresh Dairy a year ago, and has now delivered more than 100,000 pints of milk in glass bottles to more than 300 homes.

He said: “I’ve spent many years working in the milk industry and I wanted to offer something different, great quality products at a great price.

“That’s why I’ve used my wealth of dairy knowledge to source the best and freshest products in the industry.

“I’ve also looked at other products and we now stock all milk types, orange juice, local eggs and bread, luxury carbonated drinks and soya and lactose free milk too.

“With the buzz around reuse and recycling kicked off by David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet’ series I wanted the business to be all about reusable glass milk bottles. Our milk bottles can be returned, washed and reused up to and in many cases over 50 times compared to a one use plastic bottle that can only be recycled a few times and then gets chipped up and put into landfill.

“That’s why we are now offering a doorstep delivery service across most of Thurrock with all milk types, orange juice, fresh banana, chocolate and strawberry milk and even single and double cream in glass milk bottles.”

Mr Luke hopes to expand his business by doubling the customer base over the next year, saying more people have been inspired by the more environmentally friendly approach.

He said the reusing of glass bottles has saved more than 30,000 two litre bottles going to landfill.

Ecofresh have also been collecting old milk bottles, saying people are interested in the nostalgia of old milk deliveries.

Winners of The Small Awards will be crowned at an event at Marylebone’s historic St Mary’s church.

Mr Luke added: “Our small team are looking forward to the black tie awards ceremony in a few weeks’ time. We will be able to celebrate our achievements, winners or not.

“On the evening of the awards we will have to stay on the soft drinks or milk as straight after we need to hotfoot it back from London to get the milk round done.”

Michelle Ovens, founder of The Small Awards, said: “There are huge numbers of small businesses doing great things, making great products and excelling in customer service, and they all deserve recognition. I am proud that there is now a spotlight on vibrant, dynamic and exciting UK businesses.”

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