Committed to Florida
As a leading bottled water company in North America, BlueTriton Brands works hard to be a good neighbor in all the communities where we operate. In Florida, we have a decades-long track record of successful long-term management of water resources as we produce bottled water for our primary Florida brand - Zephyrhills® - along with our Deer Park® and Pure Life® brands.
Our company provides more than 900 good-paying jobs with benefits to local Floridians, and is currently among the top employers in Gilchrist, Pasco, and Madison Counties, where the wage we pay employees is significantly higher than the average wage paid to workers in other industries in those same counties. We spend more than $125 million with Florida vendors, and our economic activity generates more than $7 million in annual state and local taxes, which help fund local schools, fire and police departments, local parks, and other essential public services. We are committed to enhancing the quality of life for our employees, customers, and all Floridians, and to contributing to a healthier future for the communities in which we operate and throughout the state.
In addition to working closely with state and local authorities, as well as environmental and water advocates and experts to help protect and nourish Florida’s natural resources, we are also committed to educating others about conservation, sustainability, and recycling. Through our partnership with WaterVentures and the Crystal Springs Foundation, we’ve helped educate more than 2 million students about being good stewards of the state’s water resources and protecting Florida’s springs. Each year, we donate thousands of cases of bottled water to local communities to help provide safe drinking water in times of crisis when local supplies are interrupted. We are national partners with Keep America Beautiful, and since 2017 have partnered with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful to provide more than 220 recycling bins across the state to increase access to recycling for 20,000 people living near Florida’s beaches and waterways.
We are proud of our Florida employees and operations and are committed to maintaining the highest standards of safety, sustainability, and innovation in responding to Florida’s need for healthy hydration.
We are depleting Florida’s water.
We are committed to long-term sustainability.
Like many Floridians, our commitment to maintaining the health and long-term sustainability of Florida’s waterways in the areas where we operate is a top priority. Our business depends on the quality and sustainability of our shared water resources, and we spend countless hours and millions of dollars each year across the country to help ensure these resources are protected for generations to come.
We work with local, state, and federal agencies to help ensure we meet all regulatory requirements, and we have strict procedures in place to maintain the sustainability of our operations. In Florida specifically, for the past 15 years, our Lee facility in Madison County has sustainably managed withdrawals relative to Madison Blue Springs and flow in the Withlacoochee River. Our Zephyrhills facility in Pasco County has more than 30 years of sustainable management between Crystal Springs and the Hillsborough River. The data collected at these two facilities on withdrawal rates and aquifer levels demonstrate successful long-term management of water resources.
We also diversify our spring sources throughout our operations to avoid overreliance on any one spring, and to support long-term sustainability and healthy habitats. For example, in Florida we withdraw water from five spring sources: Crystal Springs, Cypress Springs, Blue Springs, White Springs, and Ginnie Springs.
Water sources in Florida are well protected.
Florida has one of the most protective water withdrawal permitting processes in the country. In order to receive a water use permit, a company must prove that its use will not adversely impact another user, that the use is reasonable and beneficial, and that it is in the public interest. These criteria are further defined by state agencies to include the requirement that the withdrawal will not cause adverse impacts to the water source and wetlands.
Multiple organizations have been tasked by the State to maintain the sustainability of springs statewide. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), water management districts, and county governments are all organizations that are responsible for protecting the springs. Withdrawals from any spring source are governed by the five water management districts which oversee permit holders. Using water beyond the permitted amount would be cause for action by water management districts, action that could include fines or possible revocation of a water use permit.
Spring water is a renewable resource.
We know spring water is a renewable resource when managed responsibly, and we are committed to sustainable spring water management at all of the springs we help manage – in Florida and across the country.
The water we use is naturally replenished through the water cycle. Selecting and managing spring water sources is a thorough and meticulous process guided by a dedicated team of engineers, geologists, and hydrogeologists who rigorously monitor a variety of environmental elements including habitat assessments, water levels, water flows, and water withdrawal. This work helps ensure that those sources can provide high-quality spring water at a quantity that is within permit limits and meets our needs without any adverse impact to the surrounding watershed or the needs of other users in the area.
Depleting the water resources in Florida would put us out of business.
Simply put: it would make absolutely NO sense for us to invest millions of dollars into local operations just to deplete the natural resources on which our business relies. It would undermine the success of our business and go against every value we hold as a people, Floridians, and as a company.
The proposed increased withdrawals for our Ginnie Springs permit is not sustainable.
We buy water from Seven Springs.
To be clear, the permit for water use at Ginnie Springs is held by Seven Springs, a local Florida business. They have the right to use and sell the permitted amount of water to us or to anyone else. For over 20 years, Seven Springs has made the withdrawals and is responsible to maintain the wells and ensure that their withdrawals don’t go beyond the permitted amount. Our purchase of spring water from Seven Springs will always remain within the level of their water use permit, which was granted by the SWRMD. Using water beyond the permitted amount would be cause for action by the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD), which can include fines or possible revocation of Seven Springs’ water use permit.
Ginnie Springs is a healthy spring.
Ginnie Springs is comprised of a large spring complex generating many millions of gallons of water daily. The springshed feeding the Ginnie Springs complex is estimated to be 33.5 square miles (21,000 acres) in size.
The maximum amount of water withdrawals allowed by the permit held by Seven Springs is 1.152 million gallons a day. While this sounds like a big number, it represents less than one quarter of one percent (0.22%) of the permitted groundwater in the Suwannee River Water Management District.
Water use in the lower Santa Fe River basin, where Ginnie Springs is located, is regulated by the Suwanee River Water Management District (SRWMD). The SRWMD is tasked with managing the regional balance between water withdrawal and aquifer water levels. It conducts water quality and quantity monitoring, research, regulation, land acquisition and management, and flood protection.
Water stewardship is a top priority for Seven Springs and BlueTriton Brands.
We are working with Seven Springs to implement a robust sustainability management process that will help ensure the long-term sustainability of Ginnie Springs.
In the first six months of working with Seven Springs, we installed multiple monitoring points at separate locations and depths. This allows us to understand and monitor water flow direction and aquifer levels in this area of the Ginnie Springs watershed. Additionally, we are installing instruments to monitor the water quality parameters at key locations.
On a monthly basis, Seven Springs is required to report to the SRWMD, the total volume of water they use daily. This information is posted online by the SRWMD for review by the public. Learn more about our Florida operations here.
We pay next to nothing for Ginnie Spring’s water.
We buy water from Seven Springs to supply our High Springs factory.
It is patently false to say we take water at no cost. We pay Seven Springs, a locally based company that holds the water use permit, for water and have done so since February of 2019.
The rate we pay Seven Springs for water from Ginnie Springs is comparable to the rates paid by municipal water purchasers in Tampa, Gainesville, and other Florida locations.
In addition to paying Seven Springs for the water, we also pay for the cost associated with bottling infrastructure, maintaining a quality product, and delivery of water.
We give nothing back to communities where we operate.
Our employees don't just work with the local community, they ARE the local community.
Like any Floridian, our employees care about the environment and the well-being of their local communities. They are good people who live, work and raise their families in the same communities where we operate, and for that reason, they are just as passionate as you are about protecting their neighbors and the natural resources where they live, and are heavily involved in the community through numerous volunteer opportunities.
We create good quality jobs for Florida residents and support local businesses.
Our company directly employs more than 900 people in Florida, providing good paying jobs and benefits to our employees. Our jobs are locally tied to water resources. That means they can’t be outsourced to other states or overseas. Florida water provides Florida jobs. Our Zephyrhills and Lee water bottling facilities are among those area’s largest employers, providing quality jobs to more than 400 on-site employees. We are currently expanding our High Springs bottling facility, and we anticipate that expansion will increase the number of jobs for local residents by more than 35 percent by year-end 2020.
We support the communities where we operate.
In addition to the positive economic impact we have upon the state of Florida, we support the communities where we operate by hiring local vendors, donating to local charities, employee volunteerism, and by sharing our experience in water resource management.
We also invest in many community projects, from watershed protection to waste cleanup to emergency donations.
We are encouraging a wasteful, throw-away culture by producing plastic.
Bottled water containers make up less than 1% of municipal waste1.
But we all need to do more to make sure ALL plastic containers are recycled – from detergent containers to peanut butter jars to beverage bottles.
We are committed to minimizing the overall environmental footprint of our packaging.
We pioneered the lightweight bottle and we have continued to reduce the material used in our packaging. Since 1990, we have reduced the plastic content of our half-liter bottles by more than 60%. Light weighting – reducing the amount of plastic resin – saves energy and reduces our carbon footprint. Over the last few years, we have explored opportunities in what we call “barefoot packaging,” which means eliminating the need for a cardboard carton on the bottom of the case. We have also eliminated the pull tab from our sport bottles and made our bottle labels 35% smaller as part of our efforts to remove unnecessary material out of our caps and labels.
We design all of our bottles to be 100% recyclable.
PET plastic, which we use to make most of our bottles, was never meant to be thrown away. It was designed to be captured, recycled, and reused again and again.
We’re leading the industry in our use of recycled plastic.
With the launch of 900-ml bottles of Poland Spring ORIGIN in April and our Pure Life 700-ml bottle (launched in February 2018), we now have two of the only major, nationally distributed bottled waters on the market to be made using 100% recycled plastic. In fact, the Pure Life 700-ml bottle won the Institute of Scrap Recycling (ISRI) Design for Recycling (DFR) Award in April. We are on track to nearly quadruple our use of recycled plastic, or rPET, across our use domestic portfolio in less than 3 years. By 2021, we will reach 25% recycled plastic across our U.S. domestic portfolio, and we plan to reach 50% rPET across that same portfolio by 2025.
We were the first beverage company to add How2Recycle® information on our labels.
These labels, added to all of our major U.S. brands, include a reminder for consumers to empty the bottle and replace the cap before recycling.
In 2019, we started to include the How2Recycle label on the plastic overwrap used for our cases. The label instructs consumers to ensure the wrap is clean and dry, and then dropped off at a location participating in the Wrap Recycling Action Program, a national public awareness and outreach initiative designed to make plastic film a commonly recycled material.
We’re investing in recycling infrastructure projects and community recycling programs across the U.S.
Unfortunately, less than 30% of plastic bottles are currently recycled2 and only 9% of all plastic is recycled in the U.S.3 We support recycling infrastructure through investments and partnerships with organizations like the Closed Loop Fund and The Recycling Partnership to help increase recycling capabilities and improve access across the U.S. In fact, we have invested $6 million in Closed Loop Fund, a $100 million social impact investment fund committed to finding a national solution to the critical recycling gap in the U.S. The Closed Loop Fund has diverted more than 110,000 tons of recyclable plastics, and the funded projects are poised to divert 4 million tons by 2025.
We’re also thinking beyond the bottle.
In addition to exploring innovative packaging, we are trying to find new technologies and delivery systems that will help us achieve zero environmental impact. Currently, our ReadyRefresh five-gallon containers are returned, washed and refilled an average of 35 times before they are recycled. Our Hydration Stations travel to local community festivals, primarily in Maine, Michigan and Florida, to dispense free water refills for attendees.
We support legislation that aims to achieve a waste-free future.
Laws and regulations play an important role in achieving a circular economy and we support public policy solutions that increase the collection, processing, and re-use of all beverage containers. This includes supporting funding for necessary investments in deposit and curbside collection programs, as well as investments to improve the quality of recycled material processed through these programs.
We strongly support the increased use of recycled content and have demonstrated unparalleled industry leadership in its use. In December 2018, we announced a goal to use 25% recycled rPET, across our U.S. portfolio by 2021 and 50% by 2025. With the launch of the 900-ml bottles of Poland Spring® ORIGIN and Pure Life® 700-ml bottles, the company has two of the only major nationally distributed bottled waters on the market made from 100% recycled plastic.
We advocate for policies that stimulate infrastructure investment and long-term supply contracting to enhance and bring supply and price stability to recycled content markets. We recently supported the passage of California Assembly Bill 792, which will require beverage manufacturers to use 10% recycled plastic in their containers sold in California starting on January 1, 2021 and will increase that requirement over time to 50% by January 1, 2030.
Bottled water is an unnecessary product.
Americans’ growing preference for bottled water over high-calorie beverages has cut billions of calories out of the American diet.
Bottled water cannot, and will not, replace tap water – and we never expect it to. Bottled water does, however, play an important role in helping Americans stay hydrated at a time when more and more beverages are consumed away from home. Americans have a growing preference for water – mineral, sparkling, flavored and still. In 2017, the sales of individual-sized bottled water surpassed sales of carbonated soft drinks for the first time ever.4
That’s great news for the health of our country as billions of calories are being taken out of the American diet.
Bottled water is essential in times of natural disaster or other emergencies.
We work on an ongoing basis with relief partners, such as Americares, American Red Cross, Feeding America, and Gleaning for the World to help deliver water where and when it’s needed. In Florida in the past three years we have donated more than four million bottles of water to those impacted by hurricanes.