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Does anyone else HATE Costco's milk containers?

I consider them to be an epic failure of design. No matter how slow or fast I pour, there is always a stream of milk that goes down the side. I must wipe it off each time before putting it away.

A petty annoyance in the grand scheme of things, but it gets old after awhile.

Milk containers from Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Safeway don't have this problem.


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  1. I don't go to Costco because the aisles are not marked with what is in them. I do not like searching all over the store for the few items that I want. I have a membership to BJs, and we have one located near us that has a deli counter where employees slice cold cuts to order. Costco is located much closer to our home, but I do not find the environment customer friendly.

    1. I agree. It's one of the few things I hate about Costco.

      It's a brilliant, efficient design from their point of view. Just not from ours. I'm sure there's some special technique that results in being able to pour the milk without it spilling all over the place... I just haven't mastered it yet.

      1. I don't use that product but could you transfer it all at once to another container when you open it then pour from the new container?

        1. Apparently it's been going on since at least 2008. According to this article, the odd jugs are designed primarily for production efficiency, not consumer use.


          “Just tilt it slowly and pour slowly,” Ms. Tilton said to passing customers as she talked about the jugs’ environmental benefits and cost savings. Instead of picking up the jug, as most people tend to do, she kept it on a table and gently tipped it toward a cup.

          Mike Compston, who owns a dairy in Yerington, Nev., described the pouring technique in a telephone interview as a “rock-and-pour instead of a lift-and-tip.”

          Mr Taster

          1 Reply
          1. re: Mr Taster

            The New York Times article linked from the above Costco blog link was also interesting. I had never heard of these before, but there does seem to be great benefit from adopting them. I went to YouTube to see if I could find some "action" clips. Lots of them spilling all over and a good demo by two young girls showing the no spill, tilt and pour method.

          2. Strange - the milk we've been getting from Costco (in San Diego) is in a cardboard box, containing two of the normal plastic gallon containers you see in any old store.

            4 Replies
            1. re: RB Hound

              Agree, I was just going to post that the milk containers are the same as all the other stores. Must be a regional thing.

              1. re: cstr

                Note that they get around the storage/stacking problem by putting it in a cardboard box. Probably not the best solution in environmental terms, but such is life. Then again, those boxes do make a handy container for my empty beer bottles, and the recycle guy happily takes them away each time I leave them at the curb.

                1. re: RB Hound

                  Some of the above posts refer to pouring and spilling the milk, I gota think it's the container shape.

                  1. re: cstr

                    For a short time within the past year or so, my local Costco (Danville CA) had milk in the square containers, but it got switched back to the conventional containers the next time I went. Perhaps the regional overlords got enough complaints for them to switch back...?

            2. Udder.


              We have the regular jugs in the cardboard carton. I always like that they have the screw caps, I'm a total butterfingers with the pop off caps, lol.

              1. I totally agree. In this day and age, which family has time to "tilt slowly and pour"? My teenaged children (and sometime us adults) are always rushing in and out of the house constantly! And there have been lots of time when the top of the lid breaks off from the cap and I am left scrambling to find another container to pour into!!! Ridiculous!!

                1. Come to Ontario Costcos, all milk is packaged in one litre plastic bags, same as almost any other milk supplier in theprovince.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Danybear

                    Yes, agree w Danybear. In Ontario our milk is packaged in 1litre bags and sold in 3 bag pkgs at Costco.

                    Cream is sold in 1 litre cartons.

                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      1 litre bags? Costco in NS sells 4 litre jugs, but in grocery stores we can get the 4 litre jugs or the 3 bags, but the 3 bags contain a total of 4 litres.

                  2. I hate them too. Thanks for posting this topic. I have an intense hatred for poor design that makes users feel like klutzes. I have gotten better over the years and of course when the container is less full it can be more manageable but seriously?
                    I had a lot of trouble with remembering to have the receipt in hand when I left the Costco as well. I tend to be pretty careful about putting my receipts away in my wallet right away. Doh!
                    The no bags thing was hard at first before that became more normal but my pet rabbit does love to play with the empty cardboard boxes I use to cart my treasures into the house.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: givemecarbs

                      This milk container thing must be regional 'cus in our area they're shaped like all other milk containers.

                      1. re: givemecarbs

                        Ours are those horrible things that just won't pour. We bought them once and never again (in NJ).

                      2. What do they look like? Ours must be different. Here (Halifax, NS) they are in the same 4 litre containers as any other grocery store. They are heavy when full, but even my children can pour them without issues.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: CanadaGirl

                          Please see my post from November 2011

                          Mr Taster

                            1. re: treb

                              I cannot. There is no permalink function on the mobile site. Just scroll up and read it.

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                Thanks got it, I've been to a lot of Costco's across the country and have never seen that design, it must be secific to a small area and agree it looks akward.

                            2. re: Mr Taster

                              Thanks. That is awkward, and not what we have. If the OP has the same containers, I feel for you both. :)

                              Ours look like this:

                              1. re: CanadaGirl

                                Yup, those are the milk bottles I'm used to seeing at most Costco's, I have no problem pouring from them. The other design must be a limited area.

                                1. re: CanadaGirl

                                  That looks like what I buy at the grocery store (which are fine to pour from).

                                  Ours Costco ones are these (which are IMPOSSIBLE to pour from):

                                  1. re: jbsiegel

                                    Why doesn't anyone tell us what area of the country these bottles can be found? I've never seen then in any Costco.

                                    1. re: treb

                                      Mine (picture above) are in Union County, NJ

                                      1. re: jbsiegel

                                        I always thought they looked like someone sat on them.
                                        Never bought em.

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          BJs uses those horrid containers too... even though their milk is much cheaper than the grocery store, it's not worth the hassle. They're too heavy, too awkward to lift, and impossible to pour from without putting half the milk on the floor. Once was more than enough to tell me it's one of the most appalling designs on the planet.

                            3. Try pouring milk from a Costco container into a toddler's bottle at 2:00 AM in a dark kitchen without getting any on the floor...Exercise in futility.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jpc8015

                                One reason why I stopped buying milk from Costco.

                              2. This is probably why there are always dried milk stains in the refrigerator at work. And I thought it was just slobby employees.

                                1. I agree, we don't buy our milk there anymore for this very reason.

                                  1. I actually love this design (that being the white HDPE one), maybe the rest of you are so fixed on that particular pouring action, and can't seem to come to a balance with this object. Personally, its much sleeker and just at an all fantastic minimal-industrialized look. And plus the milk tastes a little better for the kirkland brand.