“Eco-Friendly” Bottled Water? Part Two: Paper (Well, almost)

Part one of this series on “eco-friendly” bottled water introduced you to bioplastics.  We now continue with paper.  Drink up.  And don’t forget to plant a tree when you’re done.

Paper Bottle

Design firm, Brand Image has created the 360 bottle – a disposable water bottle made out of recyclable paper.  With a one-of-a-kind design, this bottle is likely to attract consumers, but is less likely to find its way into a recycling bin after use – making it just as wasteful as recyclable plastic.

h20 :: Natural Spring Water

“Save the planet one drink at a time…” One writer calls this greenwashed nonsense,” and I might have to agree.  h20 is packaged in a carton that is “mostly paper,” but that contains aluminum, plastic, and other materials that make it very difficult to recycle.  Although its rectangular shape makes transporting more efficient and saves energy, this product still contributes to environmental degradation in ways that filtered tap water in a reusable stainless steel bottle simply wouldn’t.

Boxed Water

Similar to the h20 brand, 76 percent of the Boxed Water container is made from a renewable resource – trees.  Again, because the packages can be flattened and shipped to fillers, transporting Boxed Water is much more efficient than transporting plastic or glass bottles.  But is Boxed Water Really Better? The company claims that it will give ten percent of its profits to world water relief foundations, and another ten percent to reforestation efforts.  These practices have yet to be officially implemented since the inception of the Boxed Water brand in 2008 – but according to the website, they “can’t wait to start giving!”  And, is ten percent really enough to recover all of the losses from the deforestation required by the manufacturing of this product?  Nice try, Boxed Water, but at this point, my vote still goes to the reusable stainless steel container – it’s just as convenient, less costly, and less wasteful.

“Eco-Friendly” Bottled Water? Part One: Bioplastics

Is it possible? We write a lot about bottled water and how it’s bad for the environment, but lately bottling companies have been trying to remedy the problem while saving their brand through more eco-friendly alternatives.  We’ve compiled a list of some of the top brands.  But after much research, I still have to go with a Kleen Kanteen reusable Stainless Steel bottle.  It seems to be the most cost-efficient option, and it’s just as convenient.

The following three brands feature bottles made with plastic from natural plant materials.  Enjoy.

Prima Water

This natural corn-based bottle is made 100 percent from plants and is recyclable and completely compostable in 30 days in a commercial composting facility (minus the cap and plastic ring). The source of the water is admittedly municipal, though it goes through a seven-step purification process even after it meets FDA standards. In national taste tests, three out of four consumers preferred prima to other natural bottled spring water brands, and four out of five preferred it to tap water. The bottle’s label, made from paper, is also recyclable, but what’s interesting is that the prima logo strikingly resembles the BP logo.  The website avidly states that the bottles are not made with crude oil.  Coincidence? In light of the recent oil spill, I hope so.

BIOTA Spring Water

Similar to prima, the BIOTA bottle is corn-based, making it completely compostable in a commercial facility (though it takes more than twice as long.)  Instead of a modified BP logo, BIOTA’s label is a picture of a mountain, reflecting its claim that the water is naturally sourced from a spring. But is this claim really true? Pepsi’s Aquafina mountain logo attracts consumers in the same way, but the water is known to be municipally sourced.

re:newal Natural Spring Water

Here we have another corn and plant-based bottle housing “naturally-sourced spring water.” Again: can we trust these claims?