We are very excited about our new campaign, #KnowYourBrand, and our kickoff company is a really spectacular one. This campaign is all about bringing you the most eco-friendly brands in the outdoor adventure industry, and our first feature really hits it out of the park. Making durable aluminum water bottles that are widely used in the outdoor community, this company truly lives for sustainability. We got an amazingly detailed tour of their facilities and were stoked to meet the great people that make up the team. They welcomed us brightly, eager to spread their word about conservation and innovation. They are doing great things to ensure the safety of our planet. Ladies and gentlemen, Liberty Bottleworks.
In the Beginning
The history of Liberty Bottleworks is really amazing and very inspiring. The founder of the company, Tim Andis, had been fed up with the lack of flexibility and customer service when shipping bottles from overseas in his previous job. Seeing the need for a domestic supplier with a passion for his community, Andis decided to open his own water bottle factory. At that point in time, his hometown of Union Gap, WA, was losing jobs due to factories closing down. He decided that the best way to bring jobs back to their hometown was to bring his factory there. With a product 100% made in the USA, the very core of Liberty Bottleworks is the passion to help others.
From the beginning, Liberty Bottleworks has sourced recyclable materials to use in its production. Reducing waste and reducing its environmental footprint has always been at the forefront of the company’s business model. Aluminum was chosen as the material for the bottles because of its ability to be recycled easily and reduce waste. In purchasing aluminum from suppliers, Liberty requests as much recycled material as possible to be put into their bottles.
Manufacturing at ZERO Waste
Liberty Bottleworks operates with the goal of a ZERO Waste facility; meaning that all materials in the plant are reused, recycled, and ultimately not wasted. During our tour, we were blown away at the amount of ingenuity that has gone into making this facility zero waste.
All aluminum scraps are recycled, including the shavings of metal from making cuts in the bottles, which are vacuumed into a recycling bin and sent back to the manufacturer for recycling. In the powder coating room, overspray is captured and sent back into the machine to be reused so that it doesn’t go to waste. Imperfect bottles are recycled or sold at reduced rates. Even the water that is used in the washing process is no waste; the water is recycled and used three times at various stages and then gets filtered and cleaned before it goes back into the drainage just as clean as it came in. Let me emphasize that again: the water goes back out the same as it came in, after being used three times! Now that is incredibly ingenious!
Anything inside Liberty Bottleworks’ facilities that can be recycled is recycled. This is where we started super-green-environmentalist-nerding out. All of these different aspects of the company that could easily be thrown into the trash and end up at a landfill, and yet this company is taking the extra steps to ensure that the environment is protected. There are recycling bins everywhere in the company. As a matter of fact, I don’t recall seeing even one regular trash can. Batteries dead? Recycle them. Brought your lunch? Use their regular dishes and wash after you’re done. Door needs to be replaced? Turn it into a desk. Everything in their facilities has been or will be reused, upcycled, or recycled. It’s really quite incredible.
Innovation and Ingenuity
With a zero waste facility and being so environmentally friendly, there are obviously challenges that arise in everyday operations. Liberty Bottleworks has done a spectacular job of not just identifying a wasteful operation but also creating an innovative approach to remedy it. Let me get a bit more specific here.
After the aluminum bottles have been shaped and cut, a ring of black grease is left on the outside of the bottle. This has to be wiped off before the bottle can continue down the line, and previously there was an employee whose primary job was to wipe grease off of the bottles as they came out of the machine. This not only was inefficient but also produced a huge amount of waste from rags that eventually got so greasy that they had to be thrown away. The general manager identified this problem as an inefficiency and built this machine below to scrub the bottles. The machine is built using spare parts from other machines and a broom head to scrub the bottles. Innovative? I’d say hell yeah! What’s even better? That employee didn’t get replaced by a machine but instead moved to a more empowering position, since the process was now more efficient and therefore more bottles were being produced.
Although the bottle scrubber is a very extreme example, there are innovations abound in Liberty Bottleworks’ facilities. And each of these innovations plays a crucial part in making such an environmentally friendly product in such an environmentally conscious company.
Bill of Health: GREEN!
Walking through the Liberty Bottleworks facility, you spot little innovative solutions in every corner. From a recycled cardboard tube as a vase to a machine built from spare parts, there is no shortage of recycled awesomeness in this company. We couldn’t have been more thrilled to kick off our #KnowYourBrand Campaign with such a leader in environmental conscience. We were expecting good things from Liberty Bottleworks, but what we got really blew us out of the water.
Next time you are in the market for a water bottle, check out Liberty Bottleworks and their sweet custom designs. You won’t be sorry you did, because you #KnowYourBrand!
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NOTE: We were NOT paid or compensated in any form for this review of Liberty Bottleworks. All opinions stated are our own and all facts stated are to the best of our knowledge. We do not make any guarantees on behalf of Liberty Bottleworks.