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A New Way to Eliminate Plastic Water Bottle Waste: An Onsite Micro-Bottling System

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MIDLAND, N.C.—Hoteliers in search of alternatives to plastic bottled water have a new option to consider: an on-site micro-bottling system. Available from Boomerang Water and about the size of an ice machine, the system can fill up to 400 reusable bottles an hour. The Boomerang Bottling System is already in use at properties including the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai (Hawaii) and The Boca Raton (Florida). At the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, 910,000 plastic bottles were diverted from landfills and waterways in one year. At The Boca Raton, 419,750 plastic bottles were diverted in a year. The Statler Hotel at Cornell University is also a Boomerang Bottling System user.

There is ample reason to reduce the flow of plastic bottles into the environment. According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles end up in landfills or polluting our waterways. Thirty-eight billion disposable water bottles are added to U.S. landfills each year. Every year, plastic bottle waste kills over 1 million seabirds and over 100,000 mammals.

The Boomerang Bottling System sanitizes either reusable glass or aluminum bottles, filters the water going into the bottles, fills the bottles, and then caps each bottle. The system requires a new cap on every filled bottle. A Nanotrite filtration system removes toxins, heavy metals, and microplastics during refilling while allowing natural minerals and electrolytes to pass through. “We do a water test to make sure we are matching up the right filtration,” says John Notte, V.P. of Sales for Boomerang Water. “We typically do reverse osmosis, treat it for taste, and re-mineralize for taste. The filtration system is one of the best and meets EPA requirements.”

Where the Bottling System is an Ideal Fit

Notte says that if your primary goal is sustainability, the Boomerang Bottling System is a perfect fit. “Optimally, it is a good fit for properties using between 500 to 700 bottles of water a day—a property with golf, rooms, retail, pool and spa,” he says. “You can be very competitive against any premium water in any similar aluminum or plastic bottle.” One person operating the machine can refill over 3,000 bottles a day.

Properties lease the system from Boomerang Water. It includes training, remote monitoring, on-site maintenance, and reporting.

Boomerang Water provides its clients with regular updates on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impact. As part of the monthly ESG reporting service, Boomerang Water collects and analyzes data from the bottling systems and recovery programs to provide clients with a report on their carbon footprint, plastic/single-use waste reduction, water usage, and other key sustainability metrics. Remote system tracking ensures efficient operation, including processing, filling, and filter replacement.

“We have had a lot of questions on the water and electric,” Notte says. “We can give you a number for the cost per bottle filled.”

A System That is Easy to Operate

Skill level to run the machine is comparable to that of a skilled back-of-house dishwasher or food prep person. Boomerang Water recommends having two to three bottling technicians. “From an operational perspective, the response has been, ‘This has been quite easy.’ We provide a lot of documentation, regular check-ins and training refreshers,” Notte says.

Installation requires:

  • 230v/60amp single-phase power supply with a 60 amp cutoff within 3 feet of the machine.
  • 50psi/10GPM dedicated cold water line with a 3/4 in. FPT ball valve water shutoff within 3 feet of the machine, and a 2″ (5.08 cm) floor drain within 3 feet of the machine.
  • Cat 5 internet connection within 3 feet of the machine is also needed for remote support and system monitoring.

Goal is to Keep Bottles on Property

Guests are used to taking plastic bottles home but with the Boomerang Bottling System guests are asked to return the bottles to return stations. Messaging in the guestroom and throughout the property reminds guests to return the bottles. Typical return rates are over 90 percent.

Water bottles can be made available in vending machines or elsewhere throughout the property. Bottles can be custom designed with the property’s logo. “Our in-house digital printing capabilities allow for full-color, 360-degree photorealistic graphics directly on Boomerang’s returnable aluminum or glass bottles,” Notte says.

Pricing on the system, bottles, caps and cleaning supplies is available on the Boomerang Water website. Glass and aluminum bottles are the same price. Because the bottles are reusable, the cost is reduced through recovery programs.

Jerrod Freund and Jason Dibble

The Boomerang Bottling System is the brainchild of Boomerang Water Co-Founder Jason Dibble, who saw first-hand the negative impact of single-use plastic bottles on the environment while serving four tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. He knew there had to be a better way and was inspired to find a solution. He partnered with Jerrod Freund, a Wall Street financial expert with a passion for environmentalism, to create Boomerang. Their mission: to eliminate plastic waste and make a positive impact on the world.

Glenn Hasek can be reached at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

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