Bottled water has been America’s favorite packaged beverage for the last three years. As people shift from less healthy packaged drinks to healthier bottled water, consumption of bottled water continues to increase. With bottled water being #1 in packaged beverages, many people ask if it is sustainable. The answer is absolutely! Even with continuing growth and increased consumption, bottled water still has the smallest water and energy use footprint of any packaged beverage.
Water Bottle Sustainability and Recycling
The bottled water industry as a whole works toward water bottle sustainability by using water bottles made from recycled materials and using less plastic in bottled water containers. The Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) found between 2000 and 2014 that the average weight of a 16.9 oz single serve PET plastic bottled water container had dropped 51% to 9.7 grams. This resulted in a savings of 6.2 billion pounds of PET resin since 2000. Talk about sustainable packaging!
All bottled water containers, including the caps, are 100% recyclable. According to the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) the recycling rate, at 37%, for single-serve PET plastic bottled water containers has more than doubled in the last nine years. Figures pulled from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), show that PET plastic containers account for less than ¼ of 1% of the U.S. waste stream. Bottled water is just one of the thousands of food and beverage products that are packaged in plastic containers. Do your part in making the bottled water you drink more sustainable by ensuring every bottle gets placed in the bin for recycling. While recycling may be inconvenient or confusing, there are ways to ensure all your plastics always end up in the right bin.
“The Water Guy” has instituted a 100% plastic, paper, and cardboard recycling effort in the manufacturing process and office operations. All departments focus on the importance of recycling and our corporate obligation to the environment. In partnership with local recycling companies, “The Water Guy” has been able to successfully recycle up to 98% of waste materials that would otherwise end up in landfills.
Zero-Waste Plastic Water Bottles
If you like the safety and reliability of bottled water but do not like the idea of going through all of those single-serve bottles, you may want to consider returnable bottles. The most environmentally friendly bottled water options are 5- and 3-gallon returnable bottles. Unlike a single-use water bottle, returnable bottles are returned, inspected, sanitized and reused up to 40 times before being recycled. When recycled, zero-waste plastic water bottles are then converted into items like carpet fibers and packaging products.
To further understand the zero-waste plastic water bottles life cycle, see the infographic below.
At “The Water Guy” we encourage the use of 5- and 3-gallon returnable bottles due to their zero-waste nature. If you are interested in getting delivery of zero-waste plastic water bottles, contact us today.
Sustainable Water Use
Water bottle sustainability also encompasses the sustaining and protecting of our water sources. The bottled water industry is one of the most efficient water users. On average, only 1.32 liters of water, including the liter consumed, is used to produce one finished liter of bottled water.
100% of all bottled water produced is intended for human consumption. Despite what some critics think, most bottled water produced from an area’s water source is sold within that area. Due to high transportation costs, the business model of the bottled water industry is to distribute bottled water as close as possible to where it is produced. As a regionally, family-owned company all bottled water produced by “The Water Guy” is delivered to our customers within our regional serving area.
“The Water Guy” also takes groundwater stewardship very seriously and understands the importance of protecting water sources for our future generations. All water sources used by “The Water Guy” have undergone professional hydrogeological evaluations to assess any potential impact on groundwater.
Bottled Water’s Role in Times of Need
Many critics believe that bottled water should not exist due to it being in a plastic bottle. However, water in a plastic bottle becomes critical for those that have had their public water system compromised in the aftermath of a natural disaster or due to a local boil water advisory. The bottled water industry has always been at the forefront of relief efforts during such catastrophic events to provide clean, safe drinking water to those in need.
When critics discourage the use of bottled water, due to it being in a plastic bottle, it does the industry a disservice. The industry is called upon every year to provide much-needed drinking water to those in need. Bottled water cannot only exist for disaster response or during a boil water advisory. The commercial market for bottled water provides the industry the capital and resources in place to respond to such disasters when needed.
“The Water Guy”, along with the rest of the bottled water industry, is committed to the implementation of long-term sustainable practices and technologies. In recognition of our efforts, “The Water Guy” earned the International Bottled Water Association’s “National Environmental Stewardship Award.” This prestigious award recognizes member companies who have excelled in creating and implementing sustainable environmental projects and conservation measures in the bottled water industry.
As America continues to choose water as a healthier beverage choice, the consumption of bottled water continues to grow. Do your part in water bottle sustainability by recycling your single serve bottles every time or switch to zero-waste plastic water bottles.