I was walking through a local grocery store when a strange white box caught my eye. “BOXED WATER IS BETTER,” it boasted. Keeping water bottles off grocery store shelves (and out of landfills) is a huge environmental goal, as they create an enormous amount of waste and aren’t necessarily better than the stuff that comes free out of your faucet. But are boxes another matter entirely? Could it be that a new shape and a new material might make it easier for people to stay hydrated and the planet to stay free of crumpled, flimsy bottles?
The company behind the bottles states that they can be flattened for effortless transportation, that the boxes are made of 76% renewable resources, and that they can be recycled in certain facilities. They also promise 10% of their profits to reforestation efforts, and another 10% to water relief efforts. While these promises sound like music to a thirsty consumer’s ears, the product still makes me wonder: why bother with the box at all?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to regulate the safety of ground and drinking water. While many claim to prefer the taste of bottled water, at-home filters can be purchased inexpensively to improve the taste of your tap. Some more pros and cons about bottled vs. tap can be found here. Reusable water bottles are everywhere these days, and much safer than plastic bottles not designed for re-use. Single use plastics, if not properly washed and dried between uses, may grow bacteria detrimental to human health.
Go reusable when possible, but if you do happen to find yourself dehydrated without your trusty reusable bottle, boxed water may be a realistic compromise that gives a little something back.