Conscious Container – 21st Century Bottle Reuse

By Caren McNamara, Founder/CEO, 06/10/20
Refillable/Reusable/Returnable glass bottle systems can deliver an economically viable and environmental impactful solution to reduce single-use bottle packaging waste, as long demonstrated by refillable bottle systems all around the world.

Conscious Container was incorporated as a California Benefit Corporation – B Corp, in early 2017 to create a refillable glass bottle system here in the United States. Over the past 3 years Conscious Container has been conducting ‘proof of concept’ glass bottle collection pilots in Northern California and Northern Nevada. Pilots included an incentive-based drop-off program in Nevada, a donation-based drop-off program and a CRV redemption-based program in Northern California. Becoming a certified ‘Processor’ in the CalRecycle CRV system allowed Conscious Container to pilot with a recycler to separate specific CRV bottle for washing and refilling. These pilots provided insights on how a refillable system could operate while creating strategic partnerships with beverage producers, recyclers, waste haulers, non-profit organizations, policymakers and industry thought leaders.

In the later part of 2019 Conscious Container was asked to present our refillable program at several large industry events, including the Resource Recycling Conference in New Orleans and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition member event in Denver. From these events large beverage producers and retailers began to approach Conscious Container to learn more about our refillable business model, several of whom operate refillable/returnable bottle systems in other countries.

One company, Anheuser Busch InBev (ABInBev), encouraged Conscious Container to apply for their 100+ Sustainability Accelerator program. In early 2020 Conscious Container was one of seventeen start-up companies from around the world select to join the Accelerator program to conduct our business solution pilot in 2020. Although the pilot is a bit delayed due to COVID19 requirements, the partners intended to launch a refillable pilot in the San Francisco North Bay hopefully in Q3. Additionally, Conscious Container was honored with an invitation to join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s CE100 program which allows this innovative start-up a seat at the table to create circular economy solutions with large global producer Foundation members.

Conscious Container’s vision of ‘A World of Reuse Cultures & Economies’ stands out front. And, moving the needle on reducing our single use packaging waste, as many of you know, requires collaboration across many ecosystems. As Conscious Container’s Founder Caren McNamara often states, “Here we go…”.

Here is a short video about Conscious Container’s partnership with the ABInBev 100+ Sustainability Accelerator program.

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