Liberty Bottleworks – Bold Designs and a Bright Future
Tim Andis thinks of Liberty Bottleworks as an art company that just happens to do manufacturing.
Colorful and sometimes wild designs are the calling card that brings customers to Liberty’s aluminum water bottles. The environmental and social responsibility that go into each bottle are simply good business, according to Andis, Liberty’s president and CEO.
“If we avoid volatile organic compounds, if we avoid resins, if we avoid toxins, then we don’t have to deal with it at the end of the pipe,” he said.
Every Liberty bottle is made entirely of recycled aluminum at the company’s zero-waste plant in Union Gap, near Yakima. Liberty developed a powder coating process to line the interior of the bottles in place of BPA, a chemical commonly used in plastic coatings that has been linked to effects on human health.
“I told my suppliers, ‘I don’t want BPA, I don’t want epoxies, I don’t want resins, no estrogenics,’” he said. “I want something food grade.”
Eliminating waste and hazardous chemicals reduces costs, Andis said. Recyclable materials can be sold and reused.
Finding those efficiencies can be hard work at the outset, but it pays off over time. “It’s changing habits, changing practices, which we do in our factory,” Andis said. “You have to be very deliberate at first, and then it becomes habit.”
Andis employs 45 people in Union Gap and makes a point of hiring veterans and buying from American suppliers. The machine used to turn aluminum discs into drinking bottles, for instance, was adapted from a device used to make Hellfire missiles for the U.S. Army.
Liberty’s factory opened in 2010 and shipped its first aluminum water bottle in early 2011. More than one million bottles later, Liberty is still growing and Andis said sales are on track to jump 75 percent this year. The old adage about doing well by doing good? It’s the truth, he said.
“Any great deal, it doesn’t solve one problem – it solves multiple problems,” Andis said.
How Liberty Bottleworks puts safer chemistry into practice
Using a food-grade polyester powder coating to line its bottles eliminates the need to use Bisphenol-A (BPA), a plastic used in the epoxy resins commonly used to line metal cans and tins. BPA can act as an endocrine disruptor by mimicking the human hormone estrogen. Finding a safer alternative to linings containing BPA reduces one source of exposure to this widespread chemical.
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