For all of the questions that have shot into the pop culture stratosphere over the last few years, we may be asking the wrong question. With both droughts and heavy rainfall making headlines, the question that should be coming to our lips is as complex as ever: “What’s in you water?” Fortunately, 1-800-RECYCLING has the assurance that at least our portable bottles won’t be adding any chemicals to the system… if Brad Schulman has anything to do with it. Schulman, founder of Green Planet Bottling, has created a 100% plant-based water bottle that could change the way we think about bottles. 1-800-RECYCLING talked about the future of Green Planet Bottling and water bottling as we know it. 1-800-RECYCLING: First things first, what do you have to say to skeptics who don’t believe that any type of water bottle is good for the environment (no matter how reusable/recyclable)? Schulman: I think it’s a tough argument if you look at it from a tap water option perspective. I think you’re talking about an attitude. It’s an absolutely neccessary drink to live. The consumer needs to drink water to live. It’s how bottled water is treated that is wrong. I think it’s a crime that big companies like Nestlé are keeping it competitive [using low prices]. There just isn’t enough money to clean it up. The lobbying is so strong, recycling barely gets done. By default, petroleum bottles take a huge part of the marketplace. This is a big health issue. 1-800-RECYCLING: Your bottles are made from a NatureWorks bipolymer. Can you explain this product, known as Ingeo™? Schulman: It’s been a five-year journey so far for me to make a bottle out of 100 % plant starch. I ran across an opportunity where the technology to make this bottle with that material seemed within reach. It was a healthy, alternative choice. I just couldn’t believe how much petroleum was out there, and I thought, “Ah ha! Maybe I can provide this option.” Here we are with a fantastic team of branding and design. One hundred percent plant starch, it comes from a corn plant (from the stalk). We take the dextrose and ferment it, turning it into a polymer. It is similar to the polymer process used for petroleum. 1-800-RECYCLING: How did you find this niche in the over-packed water bottling industry? Schulman: We’re the leader, because we’re 100% plant based. We’re a beverage company [first and foremost]. We just came out with a liter size, and I thought to myself, “I can put iced tea, milk, juice in it.” Green Planet is a great name, our statements are great and people will be happy to pay more for it if they know why. We are going to do a big campaign. It’s really up to us to chose a better option. Everybody wants to do it, but they haven’t seen us yet. We have seen a lot of growth and are very confident about our 100% plant-based bottle. We are already on the doorstep of a lot of schools, Nike, Visa, Apple, corporate campuses [and] national parks. Where anybody wants to stop buying import and buy local [that’s where we’ll be]. 1-800-RECYCLING: Where do you see the bottling industry in 10 years? Will all bottles be sustainable? Schulman: I think so. I think we’re there [as a company]. There is $12-billion market for for water. The big number also confirms that it is the most difficult. The market size also means that people want the option to switch. 1-800-RECYCLING: What do you think about competing bottles that are ‘biodegradable’? Schulman: How do you know who is really green or not? You’ve got to do your own research. There are new bottles, called ENSO biodegradable. They biodegrade, but there is such a strong chemical in there — it is chemically riddled. They are telling people that it is a green option because the bottle goes away. They are using all of the goodwill techiques without the heart. 1-800-RECYCLING: What do you think about Coke announcing a future plan to make 100% plant-based bottles? Schulman: [Laughs lightheartedly] They are a good company, I’m a stockholder. I don’t have any enemies.
Green Planet Bottling’s One (Plant-Based) Bottle at a Time Approach
Brad Schulman, founder of Green Planet Bottling, has created a 100% plant-based water bottle that could change the way we think about bottles.