10 Automotive Years ago 10 Years ago Published in bioplastics MAGAZINE Green Bottles at Capitol Hill Naturally Iowa, a publicly-traded company from Clar Iowa, USA is one innovative company taking advantag these positive trends. Naturally Iowa was the world’s beverage company to use PLA bio-packaging exclusi for its organic and natural dairy products (bM 02/2007). company’s new Green Bottle TM Spring Water, made w water that recently won the world bottled water tast competition, is made with PLA bio-packaging (bM 06/200 Bottle Applications Article contributed by Clark Driftmier, President of Fairhaven Strategy Group, Boulder, Colorado, USA T Company founder and CEO Bill Horner, a farmer a agricultural entrepreneur, has been successful securin BioPreferred vendor status and subsequently gainin distribution with several governmental agencies, includin USDA and the US Capitol. Green Bottle Spring Water i now the exclusive bottled water supplier to the ‘Green the Capitol‘ initiative, is served to Congressional representatives and staff in House offices, and can also be found in the commissaries at USDA headquarters in Washington DC. Green Bottle Spring Water was also featured recently at the GSA Expo 2009 and was the exclusive bottled water provider for the Expo. Bill Horner sees several important initiatives as he builds the business for Green Bottle Spring Water. According to Horner, “Our business for Green Bottle Spring Water will grow as we expand into a greater number of venues where consumers are oriented in favor of environmentally responsible products that also have superior taste. It’s also important that disposal and ‘end of life’ issues are resolved, which for traditional PET packaging presents a major hurdle. As many are aware, there is a significant backlash against PET or PC packaging, both for the disposal and waste issues and also due to increasing concerns about the potentially harmful health impacts of BPA (in the case of polycarbonate water bottles). Bio-packaging offers an excellent solution and is the environmentally responsible packaging for bottled water and many other products.” Horner continued, “Fortunately for us, the governmental agencies and food service providers that we have contacted have shown an understanding of these issues and a strong desire to create greener options for their agencies and staff.” Horner noted several important trends which will drive Green Bottles at Capitol H he first decade of the 21 st century has witnessed a steady growth and evolution in consumer interest in products with demonstrated ‘green‘ benefits. This trend toward environmental responsibility has also influenced governmental policy-making in the United States. For example, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the BioPreferred Vendor program (bM 02/2006) gives preferential vendor status to those organizations and products which fulfill the requirements of the program. A good measure of the growth of the BioPreferred program was the recent GSA Expo 2009 in San Antonio, where over 8,000 government purchasing directors and agents met with BioPreferred and other government vendors. The BioPreferred products were among the most popular and wellreceived items at the show. Another positive development at the Federal level is the new ‘Green the Capitol‘ initiative which is a broad program to bring mainstream environmental responsibility to government, specifically to the U.S. Capitol building and the many offices of the House of Representatives. Recycling stations have been placed everywhere. Café’s and food service venues serve bottled water in bio-packaging. There is even a composting program for food waste, bio-packaging and other compostables. This program, under the direction of Perry Plumart, is growing rapidly and will expand into other areas of Capitol operations over the next several years. the growth in sales of products using bio-packaging. tinyurl.com/bottle-2009 20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 14 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/19] Vol. 14
Blow Automotive Moulding Bottle Applications inda, e of first vely The ith ing 8). nd g g g s “Governmental interest will continue to grow rapidly,” said Horner. “I believe that there will be a rapid acceleration of bio-plastics adoption by governmental agencies, and they will use the BioPreferred program to help demonstrate a positive commitment to environmental stewardship. As a result, this support will significantly reduce the use of petroleum-based plastics for foods and other products sold at these agencies. City governments will also adopt similar policies, as evidenced by the recent actions in San Francisco and other U.S. municipalities to restrict or even prohibit the use of PET bottles. There will also be an increased push in school systems, especially at the Primary level, to reduce or restrict the use of PET bottles for environmental reasons. The alternative, beverages and other foods using bio-plastics, will see greater acceptance and adoption by the food service providers who work with school systems and other institutions.” Looking to the future, Horner was sanguine about the prospects for bio-packaging. “When I founded Naturally Iowa” said Horner, “the company based its mission on the benefits of bio-packaging and committed ourselves fully to environmental responsibility. Starting with our dairy products, and continuing with Green Bottle Spring Water, every product we have introduced has shown both the promise and the practicality of bio-packaging. Other companies have followed a similar path, and I’m very encouraged by what I now see in the stores, in food service and institutional sales. From bottled water to trash bags to shampoo to baby spinach, products with bio-plastic packaging are growing in both breadth and depth. The next five years will be a period of significant growth for our industry. We plan for Naturally Iowa and Green Bottle Spring Water to fully participate in this growth. We will continue to be a good partner in the promotion of bio-plastics as the best, most environmentallybeneficial way to package products.” www.naturallyiowa.com bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 21 “We won’t give up!” In July 2019 William Horner, now CEO of Totally Green Bottles and Caps LLC (Red Oak, Iowa) said: The “Green the Capitol” Initiative mentioned in that 2009 article ended with the 2012 National Election and the new majority in the House of Representatives. More or less at the same time Totally Green made the decision to withdraw from the marketplace, at least temporarily. The reason was simply because we couldn’t offer a completely compostable bottle, due to the missing compostable components, the closure and the label. Nevertheless, under the name Totally Green Bottles and Caps (TGBC) we continued our efforts to eventually reach the goal. Closure molds were developed to conduct trials for the creation of a compostable closure for TGBC’s bottles. Tests with bottles and caps performed by a US laboratory in 2013 confirmed that they met basically the ASTM D6400-04 specifications for compostability. Not everything went smoothly. So, trials with several co-packers revealed capping issues with some bottling lines, which did not pass our high bar for standardization of the product. After another few years of research and development with ups and downs in 2017 TGBC’s bottles, caps, and labels were ready for an International Testing Laboratory (OWS) to confirm previous test results and added the label to the testing protocol. Test results in 2018, concluded that, in addition to biodegradation the TGBC products fulfilled the requirements on volatile solids, heavy metals (Photo: Cheng Chang, iStockphoto) and fluorine, as defined by ASTM D6400 (2012), CAN/BNQ 0017-088, EN13432 (2000) and ISO 17088(2012). Last year finally, a truckload of bottled water was delivered to a closed-loop/ zero waste outdoor event customer in New York City with great success. In many parts of the world we have now identified Distributors, who were briefed on the product line’s strengths and potential weaknesses, based upon previous trials in the USA. These Distributors received samples preforms, caps, and labels for further testing with all types of bottling lines (blow moulding, filling, capping). Exclusive Distributors in various countries monitored each trial to record the strengths and weaknesses of the preforms, caps, and labels under a wide range of conditions – with mixed results. Case by case those few cases where product and equipment did not function properly were identified and - with the assistance of the bottlers and Distributors - the necessary points have been addressed and solved. And we are going further. Together with the Distributors twelve proof of concept locations are being identified to begin operations in 2020. A very important decision was, that only closed-loop sites, such as campuses, stadiums, festivals, hospitals, cruise-boats etc, would be selected so that virtually all empty water bottles could be collected, and placed together with food scraps for pick-up by an industrial composter. If no industrial composter is available TGBC can offer a so called “Bottle Model Digester”. This machine not only will handle TGBC’s empty bottles, it will save food services money while relieving the pressure on landfills that are in short supply world-wide. The digester grinds the labelled bottles and caps, and then, combined with the food scraps to quickly processes an effluent for irrigation, fertilizer, for landscapes around the facility, or it can be directed to the sewage system within the closedloop facility. The digester runs continuously, and the cycle for conversion is approximately 24-48 hours. The last ten years of research and development since publication of the referred to article - or even better the last 15 years since Naturally Iowa started to develop the first compostable PLA milk bottle (cf. bM 02/2007) have offered important lessons for the TGBC staff. Perhaps the most important element for success was the identification of trustworthy, patient, highly skilled individuals who believed that there is a solution to the replacement of petroleum-based bottles with plant-based bottles. That solution, however, is not as easy as it might appear to many who would like to undertake it. But we don’t give up and stay on it. Sure and steady wins the day.