EartH20 closes the loop
Culver-based EartH2O has been selling its spring water in bottles produced from 100% recycled plastic for five years, but now the company says it has closed the loop on its manufacturing process by acquiring all the material used in its bottles from plastic recycled in Oregon.
“Our goal is to source as locally as possible,” says CEO Steve Emery.
The advancement came about through a partnership with ORPET, a St. Helens recycling facility that sources used beverage containers from recycling centers throughout the state, then cleans and converts them into a flake material. That flake is sent to Peninsula Plastics Recycling, where it is ground into a resin that is molded into pellets, which are then shipped to EarthH2O for use in the production of single-serve, BPA-free water bottles.
Emery says the cost of recycled resin is running about 10% higher than “virgin” resin derived directly from petroleum, but requires 60% less energy in production. Still, sustained low oil prices could threaten the market for resin from recycled plastic as demand declines.
“The situation may not be viable for suppliers who will lose customers to virgin resin,” says Emery. He says EartH2O is committed to using 100% recycled plastic regardless of increased costs. Later this year, the company will also begin manufacturing bottle caps from fully recycled material.
“It costs a little bit more, but it’s infinitely better for the environment and community,” Emery says.