IBWA expresses support for the smart and responsible management of the world’s water resources
The members of the International Bottled Water Assn. (IBWA) are supporting World Water Day 2013 and recognize the importance of a safe and sustainable water supply. The theme for this year’s World Water Day, celebrated annually on March 22, is “The International Year of Water Cooperation.” This United Nations-sponsored event is held every year to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and to advocate the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
IBWA supports the smart and responsible management of the world’s water resources. Cooperation on effective groundwater management requires a multijurisdictional approach that involves many parties, including bottled water companies, scientists, consumers, environmentalists and regulators.
Promoting greater consumption of water from all sources, including bottled water, will support the efforts of communities striving for a healthier lifestyle. And, for those who want to eliminate or moderate calories, sugar, caffeine, artificial flavors or colors and other ingredients from their diet, selecting water is a good option, whether from the tap or in a bottle.
The bottled water industry recognizes the importance of protecting the quantity and quality of the world’s water. Bottled water companies that produce groundwater products (e.g., spring water, artesian water) are entirely dependent upon a safe, fresh supply of constantly recharged and replenished water for their livelihood. In addition, IBWA supports strong municipal water systems since bottled water companies that produce purified water often use municipal water sources. Once the municipal source water enters a bottled water plant, several processes, including reverse osmosis, deionization and filtration, are employed to ensure that it meets the purified water standard established by the U.S. Pharmacopeia (23rd Revision). Bottled water companies responsibly manage and monitor their source waters and oversee bottled water production in an environmentally focused process.
In many parts of the world, clean, safe water is unavailable or only available in limited quantities, even in stable periods without an over-arching natural disaster. While governments and the private sector work to find permanent solutions to provide clean drinking water in underserved communities around the world, bottled water, combined with other solutions such as filtration and bulk filling stations, are an efficient and effective means of delivering clean, sanitary drinking water where insufficient or non-existent water delivery infrastructure poses life-threatening problems. In addition, a growing number of bottled water companies are designating a portion of their income to support global programs, which help create long term solutions for the provision of water for drinking, sanitation and hygiene in underserved and developing communities.
Bottled water’s environmental footprint is the lowest of any packaged beverage according to a life-cycle assessment conducting by Quantis in 2010. Moreover, data released by the Beverage Marketing Corp. in January 2013, showed that between 2000 and 2011, the average weight of a 16.9-oz (half-liter) PET plastic bottled water container declined 47.8%. This has resulted in a savings of 3.3 billion lb of PET resin since 2000. In fact, many bottled water companies are already using recycled plastic in their bottles and some are producing 100% recycled PET water bottles.
All bottled water containers are 100% recyclable. According to a January 2013 internal NAPCOR study, the national recycling rate for PET plastic bottled water containers jumped in 2011 to 38.6%, representing an increase of nearly 20% over the previous year’s rate of 32.25%. PET plastic bottled water containers are the most frequently recycled PET beverage container in curbside recycling programs. In addition, 3- and 5-gal plastic bottled water containers are reused between 30 and 50 times before being recycled.
Of all the plastics produced in the U.S., PET plastic bottled water packaging makes up only 0.92%. Moreover, plastic bottled water containers make up only one-third of 1% of the U.S. waste stream, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.