Are Biodegradable Bottles the Answer for ‘Healthy’ Water Drinkers?
Did you know that the global market for bottled water alone is estimated to reach £215 billion by 2020 (not factoring in any other type of bottled drink or liquid), and UK users alone go through approx. 38.5 million plastic bottles EACH DAY? OK, most plastic bottles can now be fully recycled, but that doesn’t mean that 100% of people are doing so; far from it, more than 15 million are discarded as litter, thrown away to landfill or incinerated on a daily basis, causing real issues for the environment, wildlife, marine life and threatening our own health due to the microplastics inside.
When you work out that that means roughly 39% of plastic bottles each day are simply being used and discarded to landfill, their implications on the world around us forgotten, it’s a sobering thought. Despite increased exposure over the past few years of the problems this type of ignorance causes, buying bottled water or drinks is a trend that is continuing to rise, especially as bottled water is typically marketed as being healthier than that which comes from the tap (and more convenient). You only need to read the brand names to see how we’re being marketed to – “Natural”, “Artesian” and “Smart” are just some of adjectives used to make bottled water seem more attractive than simply pouring a drink from the tap at home into a reusable bottle for the day. Whilst there’s no denying that tap water can taste different to bottled water, investing in a water filter is a much more environmentally (and long-term budget) friendly solution. That said, bottled drinks do have their time and place and it is far better to buy a drink then become dehydrated; awareness needs to be raised for those who buy from habit, or convenience, or because they don’t consider tap water as a healthy alternative.
If the fact that over 100 million marine animals are killed each year thanks to plastic ocean debris, or that even BPA-free plastics may cause health issues in humans, isn’t enough to make people think twice about picking up a bottled drink from the supermarket to go with their lunch, then a new tactic is perhaps what’s needed. Edinburgh inventor James Longcroft is one such entrepreneur who has developed a product to tackle the issue head on – the biodegradable bottle that is 100% plastic free. Sold by his company, Choose Water, the bottle range are made from recycled paper with an inner waterproof liner and steel cap and do not leave behind toxic micro-particles. As above, they are completely biodegradable and will break down within months, whether they are in the ocean, landfill, or recycled through a household recycling centre. The natural materials that form the inner lining would actually be beneficial to marine and soil environments, should they end up breaking down in this way.
We’re really impressed with the idea behind these bottles, and others in the market place who aim to create products that will not leave behind a harmful footprint, but there’s no denying that fact that our awareness as a nation needs to grow. You see stories in the media on a daily basis about the damaging effects of plastics when not recycled correctly, but are they just read and forgotten, the need to carry a convenient drink more important than our long-term health or that of the wildlife and nature around us? Obviously, you can’t generalise every person into this statement, but it does seem as if more biodegradable and natural solutions such as paper bottles will need to be developed to satisfy our culture as well as keeping our planet safe.