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Editorial: Milk, Melons, and Smaller Refrigerators

January/February 2006
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2006 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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January 01, 2006
        One seemingly irreversible trend in American homes is the growing refrigerator. This is particularly puzzling because the average household size is shrinking. What do people put in there? We haven’t read the market research to answer that question; however,we can tell you that SUV refrigerators are not necessarily inevitable members of future American households.         One justification for buying larger refrigerators is the need to store larger volumes of milk (presumably necessary because our shopping expeditions are becoming less frequent and larger). But is storing so much milk necessary? In Europe, most of the milk sold in grocery stores is ultra-high pasteurized.This milk can be safely stored at room temperature for several months. The typical European refrigerator holds only open milk containers plus any milk needed in the next few hours. A gallon in the fridge will probably be sufficient for 99% of American households. And ultra-pasteurized milk is typically cheaper than fresh milk, because stores need less refrigeration space for it and shipping would be cheaper without refrigerated trucks.         So why isn’t ultra-pasteurized milk widely available in ...

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