266 267 not. “At heart we are a familycompany froma farming background.That means we have always been very cognizant of protecting the environment.We farm about 3,000 acres organicallyas part of our source protection plan.We believe that in taking care of the land,the landwill take care of you.We started to look at the environmental footprint of our water business and decided that wewanted to be different.Wewant- ed tomake these bottles from100 percent,recycled, post-consumer packaging.” Their first foraywas to purchase recycled P.E.T.plastic (rPET) fromsuppliers.What they foundwas inconsis- tencybetween batches that meant therewere ineffi- ciencies in processing the recycled plastic.So,Ice River Springs tooka leap of faith and built its own recycling facility inOntario in 2010. “We invested over 20million dollars in state-of-the- art equipment fromEurope tomake our own 100 percent,recycled plastic,”Gott explains enthusiastically. “What we do nowis to buypost-consumer baled P.E.T. fromMaterial RecoveryFacilities (MRF); post-consumer soda and beverage bottles,condiment bottles,and oth- er types of food packages. After we deliver our bottled water to our customers,we travel a short distance to local MRFs and bring these bales up to our recycling center in Shelburne,Ontario.In this facility,we sort andwash it before putting it into a purification system that leaves us with food grade pellets whichwe use to make bottles from100 percent recycled plastic for our retailers in Canada and the U.S.” When theypurchase and process the P.E.T.plastic, ICE RIVER SPRINGSWATER COMPANY they invariablyfind other plasticsmixed in the bales. “For example,we get all kinds of caps which are differ- ent plastic (hdpe). We invested in a company that uses that capmaterial tomake recycled outdoor furniture; Adirondack chairs,Muskoka chairs, and other associ- ated outdoor furniture, all from recycled material,” says Gott.“There are other products that are up and coming that we plan to make with the remaining materials that are contained in the bales because we don’t want to downcycle; we want to be able to use everything we can.We look at that as further opportunity for our business. It’s somewhat of a diversification but it really comes from a need to find uses for these materials and keep them out of the landfill.” Ice River Springs is the only beverage company in North America that has its own closed-loop recy- cling system, and it is what really differentiates it from all other suppliers.This makes it very attractive for the private label market,where retailers and consumers care about environmental issues. “Our view is that there is enough plastic in the world; we need to find ways to reuse it,” says Gott. “We don’t need to make new plastic.And we find that our retailers appreciate that and they like being able to put their own brand on that bottle and show their consumers that they’re serious about sustain- ability and about meeting their sustainabilitygoals.”In the coming years,Ice River Springs plans to duplicate its recycling plant in the United States. PREFERRED VENDOR n Atlantic Packaging