Reducing our reliance on plastic, one carton at a time
It probably comes as no surprise to most people that we, as a country, have a pretty serious addiction to bottled water. And it’s common knowledge that this convenience purchase leads to unnecessary landfill waste, not to mention waste that doesn’t decompose for 450 to 1,000 years. Yet, approximately 35 billion plastic water bottles are sold across our 50 states annually.
Changing this well-ingrained behavior in our consumer culture has proved nearly impossible by all who have attempted it, thanks to our deeply-rooted, traumatic experiences with tap water, and our obsession with all things convenient. So, instead of trying to eliminate the problem altogether, some companies are stepping in to at least change the severity of its impact on our planet. Enter: the boxed water movement.
What is boxed water?
The premise behind boxed water is simple. It’s a purified water (different brands use different methods) packed into containers that are primarily made from paper. A solid 75 percent of the container materials is recyclable, and the paper products decompose far faster than any plastic ever could.
Companies, such as Boxed Water Is Better, Just Water, and Rethink Water, are now stocked on shelves from city bodegas to suburban grocery stores, creating a side-by-side visual comparison to water bottles for customers to ponder.
Boxed water is far from new. For example, Boxed Water Is Better made its way into the marked in 2009. It just took the better portion of a decade for it to wiggle its way into the bottled water space and suggest to people that if they insist on purchasing “convenience water,” they might as well chose a more sustainable option that still meets all of their needs.
Why is boxed water better for the environment?
When it comes to the sustainability numbers, paper beats plastic by a landslide. First, the rectangular shape of the cartons uses space much more efficiently than pre-formed plastic being shoved into shipping boxes, so more water can fit into a smaller shipping space.
Second, Boxed Water Is Better ships all of its carton pallets empty to its single plant where the cartons are then filled. This space-saving tactic helps cut out a significant amount of transportation costs, as well as the carbon dioxide emissions that stem from having dozens of delivery trucks on the road at the same time.
Boxed Water Is Better even takes it one step further. Thanks to the company’s #Retree partnership with the National Forest Foundation’s 1% For The Planet campaign, it will be responsible for planting one million new trees across the country’s forest lands over the next five years. As they use a natural resource, they make it a priority to replace what’s ultimately taken.
Will boxed water solve all of our bottled water problems? Probably not. But at the very least, the companies providing it are clearly focusing on minimizing their environmental footprints, and they’re getting a large number of consumers to start rethinking their convenience purchases. And those are two big steps in the right direction.