NBC 7 reporter Consumer Bob talks to the owners of George's at the Cove in La Jolla about how they have reused plastic and glass bottles at their restaurants.
George's at the Cove in La Jolla is known for its food and beautiful view of the Cove. But it also sells bottled water with its name etched into the glass. It is part of the popular restaurants effort to go "green".
"The foot print for this is much smaller," said George's Executive Chef Trey Foshee. "You're not shipping it from overseas, it is a local product."
Foshee gets the restaurant's bottled water from Palomar Mountain Spring Water in Escondido. But it doesn't come in 5 gallon bottles left on the front porch. Instead, Palomar is working with So Clear Beverages and supplies water in European glass liter bottles, etched with the name of the restaurant. But it's not just the look that George's wants, it's also the benefit to the environment.
The bottles are reused dozens and dozens of times. George's joins nearly 60 restaurants in the San Diego area that recycles the glass bottles including Island Prime, Jake's Del Mar and Loews Coronado.
"We have bottles that have lasted 50 trips between the restaurant and the water source," said Jonathan Pierce with So Clear Beverages. Pierce says with this program, the water is local and sustainable. There is no water coming from Europe or the South Pacific.
"Ours is a zero waste product," said Conrad Pawelski with Palomar Mountain Spring Water.
The Escondido company picks up the empty bottles from the restaurants, sterilizes the bottles and refills them with either clear or sparkling water. The bottle is then sealed with a ceramic top that is covered in a small plastic wrap.
The sparkling water is filled at just above freezing temperatures to keep the carbonation. Pawelski says they sell about the same amount of clear and sparkling water but he has noticed that Italian restaurants use more of the sparkling variety.
So Clear works with bottling plants in other parts of the country where they have similar programs in the New England area, even in Mexico. Most of the bottles are offered at higher end restaurants and hotels where it is sold off of the menu. When the meal is over, the bottles are picked up by the bottling company and eventually used again.