Decades ago it was common practice in the beverage industry for customers to bring glass bottles back to the bottling company for a discounted refill. Local bottlers sold directly to the public to limit shipping costs, which were expensive due to poor highways and a lack of technology. As times have changed, bottling companies now rarely offer refillable beverage opportunities but the practice may be slowly making a comeback as more companies strive to go green.
How Refillable Fell Out of Favor
One-way glass bottles hit the marketplace in the 1940’s followed by canned soft drinks and beer in the 1950’s. These innovations allowed for a wider distribution of beverage products throughout supermarkets. Bottling companies put forth more effort and money toward marketing their products in the stores and began to place a lot of emphasis on the convenience of one-way bottles. Major players, like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, were particularly aggressive in marketing one-way bottles to beat their supermarket competition.
Critics later blamed this heavy promotion for instilling the bad habits of consumers throwing the glass bottles away. In the 1960s and 70s, there were additional concerns about the increase of litter in public places. Some states enacted a returnable bottle opportunity, where consumers could return glass bottles in exchange for a cash payout. This allowed for a good amount of glass bottles being recycled for a period of time but eventually, the return rate dropped and consumers lost interest.
Go Green with a Refillable Business Plan
Glass juice bottle and other glass beverage containers are infinitely recyclable. They can be used over and over ago, cutting down on the amount of glass bottles ending up in the landfill. They can also be recycled repeatedly without concern for loss of quality or glass purity. It is estimated over a ton of natural resources are saved for every ton of glass recycled.
Today, there are several bottling companies in the United States still offering refilling services. For beer bottlers, Massachusetts is the leader among the 50 states in the use of refillable beer bottles. In Pennsylvania, beer sales are restricted to distribution stores and other specialty stores so refillable bottle sales is still a feasible practice around the state. For the soft drink market, the Kentucky-based Ale-8-One Bottling Company still offers refillable bottle services. A few dairies across the country still sell milk in refillable glass bottles. Many of these dairies even continue to deliver half-gallon glass milk bottles to their customers.
Durable glass bottles, like those offered by BottleStore.com, can be refilled continually and are easy to clean. Several inspiring companies are coming to the forefront of the refill initiative to reduce more waste. California-based Green11 operates stores called The Refill Place, offering refills on personal care items, detergents, and cleaning products. Common Good, a company based in New York, also utilizes reusable glass bottles, which customers can refill for a variety of products.
Beverage companies looking for eco-friendly business ideas may do well to consider the benefits of refillable glass bottles. Reducing waste and keeping landfills free of recyclables is a step in the right direction. Cornering such a niche in the beverage industry business can certainly boost profits. BottleStore.com offers a large inventory of caps so you can provide your customers with fresh closures with each refill, while doing your part to preserve and protect the environment.