My Goals

To share eco tips &
To discuss changes we can make.

Monday, June 2, 2008

AriZona Tea: you be the judge

My husband bought a jug or AriZona brand sweet tea the other day and when we went to recycle it, I saw that it was a type 7 plastic, which is not one that we can recycle in our area. I then wrote Arizona tea asking why theirs was not a type 1 or 2 plastic, like most things with screw tops are. They responded with the following:

Thank you for your interest in the recyclability of the plastic Arizona gallon bottles. We at Arizona Beverages have worked with our plastic bottle manufacturer, Graham Packaging, to make our plastic bottles recyclable and as environmentally friendly as possible. Due to the rigors of our filling process and in order to insure that the product inside remains fresh for as long as possible we need to use a special grade of plastic in the bottle. Because of this, we are required by law to use the Resin Identification code #7 on the bottom of the bottle.

Before we commercialized this bottle, we worked with the member companies of the Association of Post Consumer Plastic Recyclers to determine how the bottle would affect the plastic recycling stream. The testing concluded that the bottle could be recycled with other polypropylene bottles to make products such as battery cases, sheeting and piping.

Polypropylene recycling has not grown as fast as HDPE and PET recycling and as of today not as many curbside-recycling programs collect it. We are continuing to work with recyclers to expand the polypropylene recycling programs. Each year, more products are being packaged in polypropylene and more plastic recyclers are including it in their process. Thank you for your continued support of AriZona!
I'm not sure what I think of their response because I'm sure most producers of liquid products face the same dilemmas of keeping their items fresh and they still have plastics eligible for curbside recycling. I will say this though, at least they had an answer. A lot of places I write, give me generic answers that don't explain anything having to do with the question.

So, you be the judge on whether or not this is a product you'll continue buying. Personally, I like being able to put my containers in the recycling bins. While AriZona tea jugs may be able to be recycled in "products such as battery cases, sheeting and piping", I don't see as though it matters if consumers don't have areas to recycle the containers. Thus, they will end up in the trash, aka not recycled.


Keith said...

You're right. Many curbside collection services will accept resins marked #7, but will not recycle them. The average consumer thinks they're recycled simply because they're picked up... And yes, you can recycle PP composites into battery cases etc., but being recyclable is not nearly as important as being recycled.

I too am puzzled by why AriZona feels the need to use a composite for tea. But at least they gave you an honest answer (many manufacturers are evasive, misleading or just don't answer).

I'm also a bit puzzled that it's Graham that's supplying them with the composite, who in the past has had a good track record on making packaging that is readily recycled. Maybe you should contact Graham too?

Best regards,
Keith R
The Temas Blog

callmekelly said...

I don't know much about Graham but I think I will try and contact them. Thanks for the suggestion.