Our latest Recycling is Real video takes us to Niagara Bottling’s plant in Rialto, California where we met people like assistant plant manager, Connor Zanoni. “I see recycling every day at every step in the production process,” he told us. “Recycling to me is very real and it’s in every single product.”
The people at Niagara use PET (polyethylene terephthalate) to maintain a steady stream of recycled-content bottles for their purified water. PET is a widely used and indispensable plastic and it’s also easily and effectively recycled.
Out on the warehouse floor, supervisor Ana Vargas agreed with Zanoni. “Not only do we make plastic bottles, we recycle plastic, and we remake them. We see that cycle going on over and over again,” she said. “Recycling is real. I see it every day, shift to shift, here at Niagara.”
Rali Sanderson, Niagara’s president, told us that recycling and sustainability are at the core of the company’s business model. “We make sure all of our products are easy to recycle,” he said. “Also, we use a high amount of recycled content. In California, we’re the largest consumer of recycled PET, using over 20 million pounds annually.”
Sanderson also pointed out that Niagara’s packaging is 100% recyclable, as well. That’s right. The plastic film that holds the bottles together is recyclable. Contrary to what you may have heard, all kinds of plastic are recyclable.
The Niagara president summed it up well saying, “PET is an easy-to-recycle material that can be used over and over again, and there’s plenty of uses for it. It’s easy to use and has a much lower carbon footprint than even using virgin material. It’s really important for people to know the truth that PET is easy to recycle, gets recycled, but we all need to do more to drive up the recycling rates.”
That’s exactly what Recycling is Real is all about: making it clear that recyclers are doing a lot of great work nationwide and stand ready to do more, so long as we work together and get plastic items into the recycling stream, keeping them in the circular economy.