Plastic Bottles and the Water Industry

Why Bottled Water?

It doesn’t seem too long ago that people who wanted a drink of water would reach for a glass and turn on the faucet.

Why Bottled Water?

Whilst that is still a popular method, there has been a global shift towards the consumption of bottled water; and now the sight of plastic bottles of water is common place at every grocery store and major venue. At a time when the sustainability of so many things is in question is it reasonable to expect that the ever-growing demand for this product is not going to have some significant impact on the planet. The importance of water goes without saying but do we need to have it in plastic bottles? Obviously, the convenience of this lightweight relatively cheap material is a major factor but like so many things in the consumer world the issues of profit versus environment and possibly health are at odds. Without a doubt clean water that can be easily obtained and carried is of tremendous value to the general public as they navigate their lives on a daily basis. Bottled water can also be stored and transported for emergencies on either a small or large scale, which is vital when disaster strikes and fresh sources are not available. Therefore, it is unlikely that we will see a substitute for the current packaging products any time soon in terms of the mass production and distribution of water. On a personal level people can reduce the impact of plastics by reusing sustainable containers and encouraging venues to provide water sources for refilling these to facilitate their use.

 

The Trouble with Plastic

Plastic is a fantastically versatile material but is also a cause for concern. As with many things in our developing world the usefulness of something is often the overriding factor to the detriment of other considerations perhaps pertaining to public safety or the environment. Such is the case with the use of plastics in the bottled water industry and now that the global demand is enormous the urge to reduce or cease usage is meeting with resistance from the industry. Initially the trend was to keep producing new plastic to meet this growing demand and not to worry about what was happening to it once thrown away. Landfills are full of materials like this that take years to break down if indeed they do at all and with little consideration given to any impact that might have on the future of the planet or indeed the health of the population. Increasing public awareness and pressure from environmental groups means that a move towards recycling emerged but on a scale that does not currently meet the need. In addition, the energy required to facilitate the recycling is also of concern in the minds of those trying to reduce carbon footprints and sustain environments globally. Ultimately the industry needs to be committed to taking responsibility for its actions and work towards the most ecofriendly methods it can achieve. The concerns over plastic leeching into the water have begun to be addressed and moving in this direction will surely improve their image and the confidence of the consumer.


The Trouble with Plastic

Bottled water is here to stay for now and the use of plastic very much a part of that. Until something cheaper, safer and more environmentally friendly becomes as common place let’s hope that the industry takes its responsibilities seriously.