Colorado-based Eldorado Artesian Springs has developed the product over the past eight years using recycled plastic. Known as rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) the new bottles are made from plastic previously used as packaging. Virgin PET is made mainly from natural gas feedstock.
The company’s vice president marketing, Jeremy Martin told FoodProductionDaily.com: “Using our RPET bottles, we are able to lower our impact on the environment drastically by keeping plastic out of the waste stream and lowering our carbon footprint. By using 100 per cent RPET, we save 77 per cent of the energy required to produce a virgin PET bottle.”
Greenhouse gas emissions
Adopting 100 per cent RPET bottles will reduce the company’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 58 per cent, according to NAPCOR (National Association for PET Container Resources).
After considering the use of corn-based plastics and biodegradable bottles, Eldorado chose to focus on RPET because it said this had fewer negative attributes then either of the other options.
Commenting on the bottle’s development potential, Martin said: “Right now, we are a very regional company but the largest seller of Colorado spring water. With our new RPET bottle we feel that we have the opportunity to expand our volume as well as our distribution area.”
Eldorado says the RPET used in its new bottle is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and meets the same safety standards as virgin plastic bottles.
The company also uses solar power in its manufacturing processes. Last September it installed a 100 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system that generates about half the firm’s energy needs.
About 96 per cent of its plant waste, including cardboard, paper and plastic, is recycled.
Meanwhile, last July two US food and beverage producers claimed to be the first in their respective sectors to switch to 100 per cent rPET packaging.
Naked Juice has said it would use 100 per cent post-consumer recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PCR PET) plastic in its Naked reNEWable bottle.
And Earthbound Farm said it was the first in the fresh-cut salad sector to manufacture plastic clamshell packing from rPET.
At the end of last year, Canadian company Naya Spring Water claimed to be the first bottled spring water company in the world to use 100 percent recycled plastic in its bottles.
Nearly 6bn pounds of PET packaging waste was generated in 2007, with only 23 per cent recycled into new products, according the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). More than 4.5bn pounds of PET was sent to landfill sites.