The Glass Recycling Process

Bottled water comes in a variety of packaging and if you are a conscientious consumer worried about the impact on the environment, it can be hard to decide which bottled water brand to buy.

While glass is a better choice than plastic, it may not be as eco-friendly as it seems.  When comparing glass to plastic, less toxic emissions are released during production, it’s reusable, and it’s made from all natural materials. However, recycling glass bottles involves a multi-step, energy-intensive process.

Glass recycling process

Glass recycling begins with separating the glass from other materials. The aluminum or plastic bottle cap has to be removed, along with any labels on the glass. Labels are stuck on with a heavy duty glue. Heavy duty glue means a heavy duty machine is needed to remove the labels from the millions of glass bottles that make their way through the recycling system.

The separated materials now have to be taken to their respective recycling reprocessing facilities, adding to the fuel costs, where they are then sorted by color. At the reprocessing facility, the glass is crushed into cullet, which are then transported and processed into new products at other facilities.

So, while glass bottles are a clear winner over plastic in terms of recyclability, the resulting carbon emissions from transporting them means they're way less eco-friendly than Green Sheep Water’s lightweight and 100% recyclable aluminum bottles and cans.

Green sheep water versus glass

"The Panda of the Sea"

International Save the Vaquita Day

If you think Panda Bears are cute (sneezing Panda videos, anyone?), you’ll love the Vaquita. Vaquitas are a type of porpoise—a marine mammal related to dolphins. This specific species is the smallest porpoise, measuring just 5 feet on average. These cuties are easily-recognizable due to the dark black circles around their eyes, which is why they’re known as the Panda of the Sea. Vaquitas don’t usually jump, splash or slap their tails, and they purposefully avoid nearby boats. They tend to travel in pairs, and they locate objects with high frequency clicks. They are truly, absolutely adorable. Proof:

Save the Vaquita

Sadly, Vaquitas are disappearing. There were an estimated 600 Vaquitas living in Mexico’s Gulf of California in 1997—in 2018, that number has dropped to less than 30! This staggering drop is due to fishing with gillnets, which accidentally entangles the Vaquita and other marine life as fishermen try to catch shrimp and other species mostly for export markets to the USA and Mexico.

Illegal fishing for the Totoaba, a large white fish prized on the Chinese black market for its swim bladder and often sold for thousands (!!!) of dollars, is a primary driver of Vaquita deaths. To capture Totoaba, fishermen use gillnets, which are vertically-hung fishing nets that trap fish by their gills. Because of these gillnets, Vaquitas get trapped as unintended by-catch, making them the most endangered marine mammal.

Endangered Vaquita

Over a year ago, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio met in Mexico to create a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to save the critically endangered Vaquita population. The MOU includes a ban on gillnet fishing with a commitment to accelerate development of fishing gear that does not endanger Vaquitas. The MOU also included a commitment to increase prosecution of Totoaba poaching and illegal fishing and a commitment to explore opportunities for the creation of Vaquita sanctuaries. Although valiant in effort, and much-needed, today we are still dealing with a dwindling Vaquita population.

We recently spoke with Dave Bader, the Director of Education at the Aquarium of the Pacific and an involved member in Vaquita conservation efforts. He spoke about the strong leadership needed to ensure the continuation of the species:

“Mexico signed an MOU to protect the Vaquita, but the resources to actually accomplish the task are not there. Illegal activities are still too high, the lack of enforcement still too low. More also needs to be done to support communities and fisherman caught up the conservation efforts. The USA, Mexico and China are not doing enough. There are enough alive today to recover the population, but serious and drastic actions need to be taken now.”

So what can you do? Today, July 7th, is International Save the Vaquita Day. Please help us raise awareness and incite support for Vaquita conservation by making some noise. Post on social media and use the hashtags #4aPorpoise and #SavetheVaquita.

Additionally, if you can, we urge you to make a donation to the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO). They’re working within the communities surrounding the Gulf to support conservation of the Vaquita. At the heart of it, many conservation issues are about working with people to make sustainable living a priority. CEDO is at the forefront of this work. Read more about CEDO’s work and donate to the SAVE THE VAQUITA Fund here.

Instagram Photo Contest

Win a FREE case of Green Sheep Water

Photo contest win free stuff

This April, we are launching a monthly Instagram photo contest. Each month, we’ll select a photo featuring our bottle for a free case of Green Sheep Water. To enter, follow these 3 steps:

  1. Snap a shot with a Green Sheep Water bottle

  2. Tag us and follow us on Instagram @greensheepwater

  3. Include the hashtag #byebyeplastic

At the start of each month, we'll announce the winner on our Instagram page. Good luck!

The Plastic Lifecycle

Plastic Pollution, Recycling, and Waste Management

Plastic Pollution and Recycling: From plastic bottle to ocean waste

So what exactly happens to that plastic bottle from your typical water bottle brand after you toss it in a recycling bin? What we’re about to share will break your little, green heart.

Plastic bottled water lifecycle / the lifestyle of plastic products

After the recycled plastics are collected (which happens less than 30% of the time), they’re separated by type so that they can be processed correctly. The materials are then washed and shredded into small pieces called pellets. These pellets are downcycled, which means they are formed into lesser quality products, like doormats and construction materials.

Eventually, the plastic becomes so low-quality that it can’t be recycled anymore. So even after the plastics are collected and separated, many pieces end up in the trash, which takes them to landfills and oceans.

Please do the planet a favor: say “bye, bye plastic” and choose more recycling-friendly materials—like aluminum! :)

The more you know

Greenspiration - living a green lifestyle

Let’s be real, being eco-conscious isn’t always easy. There’s a lot to keep up with: your carbon footprint, which day recycling gets picked up, the ever-changing policies that will determine the future of our planet...just to name a few. Educating yourself on the subject shouldn’t be a chore, so we’ve done the work for you and created a list of books and movies to inspire you to keep living that green life. Pick up your feet, grab a bottle of Green Sheep Water, and enjoy one (or more!) of the following books or movies.

Books

Bottled & Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water
Peter H. Gleick
Bought and Sold attempts to answer the million dollar question, “is bottled water really better than tap?” Berkeley scientist Peter Gleick shares how water went from being a free natural resource to one of the most commercially successful products today. Gleick investigates whether the bottled water industry’s claims about safety, convenience, and taste hold true when compared to tap water (hint hint: they don’t). At Green Sheep Water, we always hope you'll use tap water when it's available to you. But for the times it's not, that's when we hope you'll think beyond plastic.

Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans
Captain Charles Moore
Captain Charles Moore was sailing home when he found himself in the middle of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or what he dubbed “plastic soup”.  The largest garbage dump on the planet is in the middle of our biggest ocean, where the plastic outweighs the zooplankton by six to one! Moore exposes the inconvenient truth behind plastic and urges for change. Aye, aye, Captain!

Plastic: A Toxic Love Story
Susan Freinkel
We have an unhealthy obsession with plastic and it isn’t going away anytime soon. Humans have produced as much plastic in the last decade as we did in the entire 20th century (holy smokes!). Susan Freinkel looks at the history of how plastic has infiltrated our lives. Freinkel shares her findings by delving into the story of eight common plastic items: a comb, chair, Frisbee, IV bag, disposable lighter, grocery bag, pop bottle, and our personal fave, the credit card. Spoiler alert: plastic will break your heart.

Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash
Edward Humes
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes takes readers on a dumpster diving investigative journey through America’s biggest export: trash. The statistics and discoveries are appalling and devastating to our little green hearts. Humes answers the questions we have been thinking about: what’s in trash, why do we produce so much of it, and most importantly, is a less wasteful future possible?

Movies

Divide in Concord
Eighty-four year-old Jean Hill is on a mission to fight the sale of single-serve plastic water bottles in the small American town of Concord, Massachusetts. Met with strong opposition from local merchants and that deep-pocketed bottled water industry, fiery Jean continues her idealistic fight undeterred. Want to know how it all turned out?

A Plastic Ocean
A Plastic Ocean follows journalist Craig Leeson and free diver Tanya Streeter joined by a team of international scientists and researchers as they travel to twenty locations all over the world to examine the state of our oceans. Along the way, they reveal alarming truths about the oceans and suggest ways we can help. 

Tapped
Stephanie Soechtig examines the big business of bottled water and its effect on our health, the economy, and the environment. It takes a closer look at industry giants like PepsiCo and Nestle Water, examining their transportation costs and conducting tests on the plastic bottle materials.

Before the Flood
Before the Flood, presented by National Geographic, features Hollywood's sustainability guru Leonardo DiCaprio as he travels around the world to see the effects of climate change firsthand. DiCaprio meets with scientists and politicians globally to expose the reality of climate change and learn what we can do to prevent further deterioration of our beloved planet. "We'll never let go (of hope), Jack."

Inspired already? We definitely were. All of these books and movies pushed us towards finding a more sustainable bottled water solution. Join the movement, and start saying bye bye to plastic today.

Plastic Planet

Plastic is everywhere, plastic water bottles

Plastic is everywhere. Literally everywhere. It has invaded every home, store, electronic, and even the occasional dog (just ask our resident office puppy). Your grandma even uses it to protect that antique sofa that no one’s allowed to sit on. A recent study estimates that since mass production began in 1950, humans have created 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic. That’s enough to bury Manhattan two-miles deep!
 
Over the decades, the plastic manufacturing industry has grown 8% annually, and it’s not slowing down: 4.15 billion metric tons of plastic—half of all the plastic EVER MADE—was manufactured since 2004. But it’s not just Granny’s furniture-wrapping tendencies that have caused this massive and consistent growth.

So what's causing it then?

It’s packaging, which in 2015 accounted for 42% of all plastic use, capitalizing on the shifting global trend from reusable to single-use products. In a world where 1 million plastic water bottles are consumed every minute, how can we not have a plastic problem?
 
Since so many single-use products are made of plastic, most plastics are no longer in use! In fact, over 6 billion metric tons of plastic have been thrown away. Most of this ends up in landfills and oceans. Plastic is non-biodegradable and with the current rates of consumption, we are simply adding to the already too-big pile of junk that is quite literally just sitting there. While the long-term consequences of plastic on our environment are unknown, it’s probably not just an aesthetic issue.

It's up to us to stop using plastic

Our global plastic pollution problem must be solved by a change in behavior; we cannot keep consuming plastic at this rate. You may think that as soon as you toss a plastic bottle into that blue bin that you’ve done your part, and although recycling is extremely important, it usually just delays plastic’s inevitable fate: it will eventually either be incinerated or sit in landfills and waterways for thousands of years to come. Now you may be thinking: “how can I help?” (and if you’re not, well, maybe you should be!)
 
The first step to solving any problem is awareness: you are now officially aware that plastic has got to go! 

Next Step: Bye, bye plastic!

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