Could A New Packaged Water Alternative Be Good For Municipal Water Too?

Could A New Packaged Water Alternative Be Good For Municipal Water Too?

As a water industry professional, you’ve no doubt seen the efforts of municipalities to promote tap water over bottled water as the original, sustainable solution. Many cities will hand out free reusable bottles to promote the drinking water their utility produces at events and reduce plastic littering streets and waterways. Your municipality may have participated in similar PR campaigns. Philadelphia, like many large cities, has created a website dedicated to its’ Drink Philly Tap cause.

Some towns, such as Sandwich, MA have gone so far as to ban single-use plastic water bottles entirely, although this measure was rescinded before it could go into effect in January. Proponents of bans usually express environmental concerns over plastics. Opponents site bottled water being a healthier beverage than bottled soda, which would likely be purchased in the absence of water, and the lack of available hydration options for citizens on the move.

Now a new alternative is gaining market awareness … boxed water.

Boxed Water Is Better® recently won a Good Housekeeping 2021 Sustainable Innovation Award in the Smarter, Healthier Food and Kitchen category. Ellen DeGeneres has promoted the brand on her popular talk show as “watery.”

The Company packages water in cartons which are 92% plant-based and created out of paper sourced from trees in well-managed forests.

In an independent study by Anthesis, Boxed Water™ cartons were found to have a 36% lower carbon footprint than PET plastic bottles. The Company has clearly set out its stall to compete against single-use plastic bottles as a more sustainable alternative.

“We have a plastic addiction problem,” said Daryn Kuipers, CEO of Boxed Water Is Better, in a press release. “Americans are the largest consumers of single-use plastic per capita, and our country has one of the lowest plastic recycling percentages. Here at Boxed Water, we are targeting industries where packaged water is unavoidable – but our word to consumers is to use refillable bottles as much as possible and drink tap water when it’s safe to drink.”

It’s a fine line Kuipers walks between supporting municipal tap water and selling his packaged water. As an environmentally friendly brand, Boxed Water Is Better is promoting its products as a supplement to municipal water — only to be purchased when a refillable bottle isn’t available or when you’re not sure that your local tap water is safe. One product feature on the company’s website is that it is “refillable with some commonsense care” – again a nod to question the safety of the water, presumably tap water, you’d refill the carton with.

Although it’s no doubt true that Boxed Water™, with a new plant-based cap made from tree pulp wastes of sustainably harvested pine, is better for the environment than PET plastic bottles, it is no less expensive. As of the time of writing, a 24 pack of 500ML cartons costs $46 (roughly $2 for each 16 oz. carton) including free shipping. And shipping comes with its own impact on the environment.

We should all welcome a more environmentally friendly alternative to the plastic bottle. Let’s hope that the marketing pitch for a more sustainable packaging option leads consumers to further consider the water they drink and reinforce the tap as the most safe, healthy and affordable water they have access to.

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