Industry focuses on environmental impact reduction efforts
The bottled water industry is focused on helping people lead healthier lives and enjoy environmentally friendly communities. “In keeping with this year’s Earth Day theme of ‘Green Cities,’ the International Bottled Water Assn. (IBWA) demonstrates a sustainable community focus through its numerous environmental impact reduction efforts, which are built on a foundation of solid science and smart decisions,” said Chris Hogan, vice president of communications for IBWA. “From resource management to investing in new LEED-certified facilities, the bottled water industry is taking a broad-based approach to being good stewards of the environment.”
A 2013 water use benchmarking study shows that the amount of water used to produce bottled water products is less than all other types of packaged beverages; on average, only 1.39 liters per liter of finished bottled water (including the liter of water consumed).
The bottled water industry’s dedication to protecting the environment and natural resources is also demonstrated by:
- Using less PET plastic to make single-serve bottled water containers;
- Increasing the use of recycled PET (rPET) to make bottled water containers; and
- Reinforcing the importance of recycling.
From an environmental standpoint, when people choose bottled water instead of any other canned or bottled beverage, they are choosing less packaging, less energy consumption, and less use of natural resources. What is more, recycling the bottle can cut that impact by an additional 50%, if it is reused to replace virgin PET plastic.
A lifecycle inventory conducted to determine the environmental footprint of the U.S. bottled water industry shows that the PET plastic small pack and home and office delivery bottled water industries combined represent only 0.08% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The total energy consumption required for bottled water production, packaging, and transportation is 0.07% of total U.S. energy consumption. The total weight of discarded bottled water packaging materials is also very low; accounting for just 0.64% of the 169 million tons of total U.S. municipal solid waste discards in 2007.
To encourage a comprehensive approach to effective recycling, IBWA developed its Material Recovery Program (MRP), a collaborative joint venture between businesses and government. The MRP supports the development of new, comprehensive solutions to help manage solid waste in U.S. communities by having all consumer product companies, including bottled water, work together with state and local governments to improve recycling and waste education and collection efforts for all packaged goods.
IBWA is a sponsor of the Curbside Value Partnership (CVP), a not-for-profit organization formed to help communities grow and sustain their curbside recycling programs. CVP helps communities increase recycling participation and increase the tonnage collected in their programs, and helps them measure this growth in order to make better decisions.