Bottling company going green

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson Alden “Mac” McWhorter of Clovis Bottlers said the company’s new ECOWise bottle is biodegradable thanks to a chemical additive the company receives from Albuquerque.

Kevin Wilson

Though there’s plenty more to explain, Clovis Bottlers is hoping the color says it all.

Green is the color, and the intent, of the company’s new ECOWise bottles. It’s like a normal plastic bottle, except taller, with a green tint and spiraled (like a very large piece of licorice).

But the key, Sales Director Alden “Mac” McWhorter said, is what’s inside the bottle — a chemical called EcoPure, which makes plastic biodegradable.

Normally, McWhorter said, “when a plastic bottle ends up in the landfill, it will just sit there forever.”

But with the chemical added in at least a 0.7 percent ratio, the plastic can biodegrade between six months and five years.

The FDA-approved chemical “creates a taste that microbes want to eat,” McWhorter said. The time it takes for a bottle to biodegrade depends on the percentage of EcoPure and the kind of exposure to lighting and atmospheric conditions the bottle gets.

Bio-Tec Environmental of Albuquerque supplies the chemical to Clovis Bottlers. Attempts to reach Bio-Tec officials were unsuccessful.

Clovis Bottlers uses a 1 percent ratio of the chemical with its polyethylene terephthalate, or PET — the scientific name for the plastic commonly used in bottles.

The PET comes in the form of a small, thick tube — like a large test tube — and the plant adds the green tint and blows it into a tall, 18.6 ounce spiral shape.

The technology could be used in soda or juice bottles as well, but Clovis Bottlers only sells bottled water, and McWhorter said there are no plans to change that.

So far, the choice isn’t translating to green for Clovis Bottlers. The average ECOWise bottle takes an additional 3 cents to produce, and merchants are still being pitched the product.

“It was more of a good conscience decision,” McWhorter said. “Before, people knew plastic bottles were part of the problem. Now the customer can know they’re part of the solution.”