Friday, September 20, 2013

Bottleworks shows manufacturing good for economy and the environment

by Ken Zarker, pollution prevention specialist, Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program

Tim Andis, president and CEO of Liberty Bottleworks, shows his company’s award to his local congressman, Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington’s 4th District.
Liberty Bottleworks of Union Gap, Washington, took top honors at the 2013 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Sept. 19 (see MVP2 press release).

I was invited to help present the national award for excellence in sustainable manufacturing and pollution prevention to Tim Andis, Liberty’s president and CEO.

The process started earlier this year, when I reviewed the winners of the Association of Washington Business (AWB) Environmental Excellence Award. I selected companies from these winners to nominate to the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable’s annual awards program. I was impressed with several of AWB’s winners, and I submitted applications for Liberty Bottleworks, Watson Furniture Group, and Earth Friendly Products.

Liberty started with the idea to create a zero-waste manufacturing facility with a connection to the local economy in Yakima County. A short video shows how Liberty produces reusable water bottles from 100 percent recycled aluminum. They got their start when retailers in the U.S. started looking for domestically produced metal water bottles in an effort to source products locally. As a result, the first delivery of water bottles was shipped to REI, Inc., on December 31, 2010.

Liberty Bottleworks is committed to sustainable and “green” manufacturing practices. Their facility uses highly efficient motors and water-based inks (cured with ultraviolet light). Liberty’s unique powder coat is cured using infrared thermal technology that increases efficiency and saves energy. Water used in the manufacturing process is cleaned and reused four times and finally filtered before it leaves the building. This efficient use of water avoids pollution of local water resources. Liberty bottles are made of recycled aluminum, contain no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and are 100 percent recyclable.

Liberty has delivered more than a half million bottles to retailers since 2010. This translates into more than 62,000 pounds of aluminum recycled. In addition, using an aluminum bottle provides customers an alternative to plastic bottles that may end up going to a landfill.

Each year, Liberty gives school tours to highlight sustainable manufacturing processes. Also, they work closely with Reverb, a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable and environmental practices. Reverb reached more than 13.5 million music fans, “greened” over 2,700 events, and involved more than 2,900 organizations. Because of this shared environmental commitment, Reverb routinely uses Liberty as their preferred water bottle supplier to convey the message of sustainability.

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