Since 2003 Hummingbird Wholesale has managed a successful container reuse program. Co-owner Charlie Tilt wanted to use an alternative system to recycling that would save more energy and be gentler on the environment.
In 2012, a Master Recycler named Cory Fulton volunteered to analyze the energy savings of our container reuse program for glass jars. We found that when our customers participate in our container reuse program, there is significant energy savings compared to disposing of the jars (by recycling or landfill) or using new jars for subsequent product. Not only did our container reuse program confirm that reuse is a better choice than recycling by far, but we also found that energy savings increase sharply the more times a jar is reused.
One hundred percent of Hummingbird Wholesale brand liquids we distribute are packed in reusable glass and plastic containers. Our returned containers are washed using Biokleen—a natural, non-toxic biodegradable soap—and sanitized using Perasan. For all adhesive material, we use a natural orange oil.
We encourage the return of our reusable containers by charging a refundable deposit on all Hummingbird branded containers. In 2016, our customer participation was 76% for plastic and 42% for our large glass containers. In eight years, Hummingbird has reused over 108,000 lbs of plastic containers and over 71,000 lbs of glass containers. Let’s work together to increase our container reuse to 100% participation to save more plastic and glass!