The founders of Ice River Springs Water Co. have invested in their own blow molding operations to simplify production, built bottling and molding plants near their customers to cut transportation costs, and even changed the types of trucks they use to fit more bottles on each load.
So when Feversham, Ontario-based Ice River decided to use post-consumer recycled PET in its bottles, Ryan L'Abbé said he was not surprised that the firm's owners made the investment to do its own recycling in-house.
At Ice River's new recycling plant in Shelburne, Ontario — its Blue Mountain Plastics division — the company brings in six to seven truckloads of post-consumer plastics daily from municipal collection sites in Ontario, Michigan and New York.
It is an ideal closed-loop system, said L'Abbé, vice president and general manager of Blue Mountain Plastics. Not only does the company wash, sort and repelletize PET, it also ships the material to Ice River's in-house plant that injection molds preforms. And the firm delivers its filled bottles in the same trucks that bring post-consumer PET to the recycling plant.
“We can do this all in a week, from collection to molding to shipping,” L'Abbé said during a discussion on recycling at the Wal-Mart Sustainable Packaging Conference, held June 22 in Toronto as part of PackEx Toronto.
Ice River's investment in using recycled content won it the Plastics Stewardship Award from the Canadian Plastics Industry Association's 2011 Plastics Industry Awards, presented during PackEx.
The firm is the first bottled-water company in North America to self-manufacture its own resin from recycled content and deliver 100 percent recycled PET bottles, CPIA said.
CPIA gave its Leader of the Year award to Mark Badger, CEO of Switchable Solutions Inc. of Kingston, Ontario. Badger is also former president and CEO of CPIA. The award recognizes individuals who have made important contributions to the Canadian plastics industry.
Switchable Solutions is a start-up that uses an environmentally friendly solvent to reclaim and recycle plastics as well as to process oil sands.
The Plastics Innovation Award went to Ipex Inc. of Toronto, the designer and manufacturer of Bionax, a line of integrated thermoplastic piping systems.
The group's first Recycled Plastic Products Awards recognizes companies whose products or packaging is made in Canada and contains at least 20 percent recycled plastics. CPIA honored three firms for 2011:
* Gracious Living Corp. of Woodbridge, Ontario, for its blue boxes used in municipal recycling programs. The company's boxes, used throughout Ontario, are made of 70 percent post-consumer material.
* Retail chain Canadian Tire Corp. for its Blue Planet Storage Solutions. Toronto-based Canadian Tire partnered with Gracious Living to introduce a product line of housewares including a laundry basket, storage containers, a cleaning-product caddy and stackable bins with 75 percent recycled content.
* Interplast Packaging Inc. for its egg packaging that contains a minimum of 25 percent post-consumer recycled material and 25 percent post-industrial recycled content. Based in Terrebonne, Quebec, Interplast has made see-through egg cartons since 1996.