A company called Ecologic Brands has developed a unique two-part bottle that they reckon is more sustainable than standard plastic bottles. Their Eco Bottle consists of an inner liner of plastic, and that's the bit that actually holds the liquid. The form and outer shell are composed of a paper-like fiber material made from 100% recycled cardboard and newspapers.
Why go to the trouble? The company says producing a bottle in this fashion uses 60% less plastic than if it was monomaterial. They also point out that less than 10% of plastic is actually recycled--those grim statistics come from the EPA--but 90% of fiber-based paper products are recycled. The thinking is that the Eco Bottle stands a better chance of going back into the system, whether wholly or partially.
However, effectively recycling an Eco Bottle relies on an engaged consumer who is willing to put in a little elbow grease. Here are the steps required to break the bottle down:
1. Pop it open When the bottle is empty, use your thumbs to pop open the side of the outer shell along the seam. The outer shell can be recycled with paper and cardboard in curbside and drop-off recycling programs.
2. Take the two pieces apart. Remove the pouch from inside the molded fiber shell. Rinse the pouch and allow it to dry. The inner pouch and spout are #4 LDPE plastic and can be recycled with plastic grocery bags at local retailers' bins.
3. Recycle it! The dosing cap is #5 PP plastic. Recycling for this type of plastic is not yet widespread, so check with your local recycling center to see if they accept #5 plastics. Also look for Preserve Gimme 5 bins, which accept #5 plastics, and are available at most Whole Foods Markets. Preserve makes great new products from recycled #5 plastic. For more information on the Preserve Gimme 5 program, visit http://www.preserveproducts.com/recycling/gimme5.html. If #5 recycling is not available in your area, the cap may be disposed of in your regular garbage bin.
That doesn't sound like a lot of work to me--but I live in a county where people still throw soda bottles and fast food wrappers out of their truck windows, littering our rural roads. I don't know how to convince people with that mentality to take extra steps to recycle.
Still, the Eco Bottle could be a gamechanger, particularly in institutions where recycling can be monitored and enforced. And it ought be well successful in more enlightened countries where roadside litter is a distant memory.