UPDATE: We're moving away from the inner foil seals! 
December 13, 2019

Behind the Bottle: Facts about Paper, Plastic & Glass

At Three Trees, we believe it’s important to consider the impact of our packaging on the environment. We try to minimize our environmental footprint and are constantly looking for ways to do so. Paper cartons, plastic, and glass are the most common containers for milk products. Here’s a look into each material and the decision behind Three Trees’ packaging, plus some helpful knowledge to be a better recycler.

Paper cartons and other “mixed material” containers

Cartons consist of multiple layers, usually of paper, plastic and aluminum. (See the breakdown of a TetraPak.) Paper is a renewable resource, so producing cartons initially takes less out of the earth than 100% plastic bottles. The downside to cartons is that the layers must be separated in order to be recycled. This is a manual process, and more often than not, cartons end up in landfill. Visit the Carton Council’s map to find out if you can recycle cartons with your curbside program. If not, you can save up your cartons and mail them to the closest recycling location.

Glass

Glass is great! It can be recycled over and over without losing quality or purity. In the US, glass bottles are crushed, melted, and reformed into bottles; in other countries, like Mexico, used bottles are simply sterilized and reused. The tradeoff with glass is that glass is heavier than other materials, and the additional weight results in higher fuel-burning during transportation.

Plastic

Most plastic bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate, or PET #1 for short. Unlike glass, plastic loses its quality as it goes through the recycling system. PET #1 is BPA-free and recognized as a safe material, and is one of the most widely accepted plastics by curbside recycling programs.

At Three Trees, we use plastic for our bottles over other materials for two main reasons:

  • As a single material vs. multi-layered (cartons), it is easy for recycling centers to recycle
  • The lighter weight vs. glass reduces fuel usage in transportation

Recycling is a complex issue. Different materials have pros and cons. All bottles have an impact on
the environment, and at Three Trees, our mission is to use the material that has the least impact while
allowing us to deliver nutmilk safely to our customers.

Recycling Three Trees bottles

To make sure your used Three Trees bottle is as recyclable as possible, follow three easy steps:
  1. Remove the label – use scissors to snip it off, starting at the bottom. The squirrel will show you where to start! Bottles with labels still get recycled, but taking it off helps ensure the quality of the recycled plastic is as high as possible.*
  2. Rinse the bottle– “dirty” bottles with pieces of food sticking to the plastic become lower-quality* recyclables, so simply wash before you toss! (A bit of residue on the plastic is okay.)
  3. Cap or make sure the bottle is mostly dry – most recycling centers have one stream recycling now. Plastic, paper, and other materials are all mixed together before they’re sorted at the recycling center. If paper gets dirty, say from contents left over in a bottle or can, it’s considered contaminated and won’t be recycled, so recycling empty bottles is important.

*What’s the deal with the quality of a recycled material? The vast majority of recycling centers in the U.S. are single-stream, meaning we toss any glass, plastic, and paper into one bin for the recycling center to sort. To add to the challenge of sorting, not all plastic is equal. Plastic bags are a lower grade than PET bottles, so if a bunch of bags are ground up with PET, then the batch has lower value than a more pure plastic. Recycling centers compete with manufacturers of “virgin” plastics, so the higher quality the plastic, the better price they can command and the more likely they are to stay in business.

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Behind the Bottle: Facts about Paper, Plastic & Glass
December 13, 2019

Behind the Bottle: Facts about Paper, Plastic & Glass

At Three Trees, we believe it’s important to consider the impact of our packaging on the environment. We try to minimize our environmental footprint and are constantly looking for ways to do so. Paper cartons, plastic, and glass are the most common containers for milk products. Here’s a look into each material and the decision behind Three Trees’ packaging, plus some helpful knowledge to be a better recycler.

Paper cartons and other “mixed material” containers

Cartons consist of multiple layers, usually of paper, plastic and aluminum. (See the breakdown of a TetraPak.) Paper is a renewable resource, so producing cartons initially takes less out of the earth than 100% plastic bottles. The downside to cartons is that the layers must be separated in order to be recycled. This is a manual process, and more often than not, cartons end up in landfill. Visit the Carton Council’s map to find out if you can recycle cartons with your curbside program. If not, you can save up your cartons and mail them to the closest recycling location.

Glass

Glass is great! It can be recycled over and over without losing quality or purity. In the US, glass bottles are crushed, melted, and reformed into bottles; in other countries, like Mexico, used bottles are simply sterilized and reused. The tradeoff with glass is that glass is heavier than other materials, and the additional weight results in higher fuel-burning during transportation.

Plastic

Most plastic bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate, or PET #1 for short. Unlike glass, plastic loses its quality as it goes through the recycling system. PET #1 is BPA-free and recognized as a safe material, and is one of the most widely accepted plastics by curbside recycling programs.

At Three Trees, we use plastic for our bottles over other materials for two main reasons:

  • As a single material vs. multi-layered (cartons), it is easy for recycling centers to recycle
  • The lighter weight vs. glass reduces fuel usage in transportation

Recycling is a complex issue. Different materials have pros and cons. All bottles have an impact on
the environment, and at Three Trees, our mission is to use the material that has the least impact while
allowing us to deliver nutmilk safely to our customers.

Recycling Three Trees bottles

To make sure your used Three Trees bottle is as recyclable as possible, follow three easy steps:
  1. Remove the label – use scissors to snip it off, starting at the bottom. The squirrel will show you where to start! Bottles with labels still get recycled, but taking it off helps ensure the quality of the recycled plastic is as high as possible.*
  2. Rinse the bottle– “dirty” bottles with pieces of food sticking to the plastic become lower-quality* recyclables, so simply wash before you toss! (A bit of residue on the plastic is okay.)
  3. Cap or make sure the bottle is mostly dry – most recycling centers have one stream recycling now. Plastic, paper, and other materials are all mixed together before they’re sorted at the recycling center. If paper gets dirty, say from contents left over in a bottle or can, it’s considered contaminated and won’t be recycled, so recycling empty bottles is important.

*What’s the deal with the quality of a recycled material? The vast majority of recycling centers in the U.S. are single-stream, meaning we toss any glass, plastic, and paper into one bin for the recycling center to sort. To add to the challenge of sorting, not all plastic is equal. Plastic bags are a lower grade than PET bottles, so if a bunch of bags are ground up with PET, then the batch has lower value than a more pure plastic. Recycling centers compete with manufacturers of “virgin” plastics, so the higher quality the plastic, the better price they can command and the more likely they are to stay in business.

Back
Behind the Bottle: Facts about Paper, Plastic & Glass
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Get in touch
We’d love to hear from you!
Also feel free to send us an email
Response time is within 1 to 3 business days
We received your message and we will get back to you as soon as we can!
Please try again!
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Got Questions?
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Have Questions?