The mission of the team behind Boomerang Water is to replace single-use plastic water bottles with their sustainable low-batch bottling system. Jason Dibble is the CEO of the company and Shaun Zaken is the director of marketing for the company. They sat down with Jessica Abo to discuss how their system works and issued a special statement to mark Earth Day.
Jessica Abo: When were you so interested in removing trash from plastic bottles?
Jason Dibble: It all started with my first overseas tour of the Middle East in the early 2000s. When I arrive in a country, the first thing they give you is a big plastic bottle. The first thing they say is, “Make sure you use it to drink water, eat with it, cook with it, brush your teeth with it, but you can shower in the water that already exists.”
When you are on tour, you start to watch When these big flights and planes arrive and leave bottled water, it makes you wonder, “What are we doing? Why are we sending so many plastic bottles here?” Then you find that once you run out of plastic bottles, you can really go The only place is these huge burning pits. So after four tours there, I have been hitting myself and there must be a better solution.
We are accustomed to these large systems that can run hundreds of thousands of bottles every day and the very cheap plastic bottles that are then shipped all over the world. The reason why companies tend to avoid glass is especially the weight and cost of that shipment. So, together with a good partner of mine and an amazing team of engineers, we started to study how to do this a few years ago. It is not easy, but we are very satisfied with the system we have now and the system we are implementing on the market.
How does the system work?
Dibble: We are bottled water at the point of use. Then go out for the customers to consume it, and once finished, we will remove the bottles. It is then returned to our system, where it is cleaned, disinfected, filled, and covered so that it can be returned for reuse.
Can you tell us what your machine does?
Dibble: This is a very simple machine – the operator will pick up one of our Boomerang bottles and load it into the machine, six bottles at a time, so you can use glass and/or aluminum at the same time. The operator will close the door and load the bottle cap into the machine very easily. Each clip on the machine itself can hold 17 bottle caps.
From there, the operator only needs to click the green button. So what is happening inside the machine is cleaning the bottle from the inside out. When you do, you are filling and sterilizing the cap of the capper bottle. This process takes approximately 30 seconds. So, more or less, we can process approximately 3,000 to 4,000 bottles on site every 8 hours in shifts.
We are in Davidson, North Carolina. In fact, we are now piloting a program, namely, old-style milkman delivery, to provide retail companies and consumers with delivery and pickup. But the main focus of our unit is to let them take the lead in putting these types of systems there and be responsible for getting rid of it, whether it’s hotels, corporate parks, manufacturing facilities, military bases, or cruise ships.
Among those disposable plastic bottles, use our system as a closed-loop system to reduce or get rid of what they are trying to do or promote, namely disposable plastic bottles.
I want to call in your chief marketing officer, Sean Zaken. What are the benefits of this system for the earth?
Shaun Zaken: If you look at a traditional disposable plastic water bottle, you need to carry one-third of the amount of fuel needed for the water bottle. When we return disposable glass bottles for obvious reuse in our system, each returned bottle reduces carbon emissions by 95%.
To commemorate Earth Day, he launched a very cool initiative. What can you share about Davidson’s sustainability challenges?
Zaken: In January this year, we launched the Davidson Sustainability Challenge in cooperation with the City of Davidson. Basically, our goal is to eliminate 1 million single-use plastic water bottles from the community by 2021. We see the city of Davidson as its own closed environment, and we want to help them eliminate the use of plastic.
You did a very special thing for Earth Day. Tell us.
Zaken: We thought, “Well, we have this great bottle, but as Earth Day approaches, why not encourage students in the community to create their own bottle designs inspired by respect for the environment and sustainability? “We are overwhelmed by these introductions. We are fortunate that the talented artist Sam Sidney chose a winner for us. And the bottle we chose is simply beautiful.
I want to bring Gianna Ziegler, she is an 11th-grade student at Davidson Community School. I know you have something to tell him. Take it away.
Zaken: Actually, we are here to surprise you and let you know that you are the winner of our bottle design challenge. I think we have now seen that bottle for you for the first time.
Ziegler: Thank you very much.
Congratulations! Tell us about your entry.
Ziegler: I want to match Davidson’s people with him so they can look at the design and say, “Wow, I know that place. I’ve been there. I go every day.” I want it to become your company. And the continuum between cities and towns.
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