In January, we posted a blog update on The Environmental Cost of Bottled Water, which looked at the growth of the market for bottled water in recent years and its implications for the planet. In just 9 months, the extent of the environmental ramifications is becoming an increasing concern with new statistics being published on a regular basis which highlight a wider plastic crisis that extends beyond single-use bottles alone.
Environmental campaigners have recently forecast that the plastic crisis should now be considered as serious a threat as climate change. The Guardian have also recently published new research on the severity of plastic bottle consumption which further underlines concerning levels of growth. Around 480 billion plastic bottles were bought across the globe in 2016. Less than half of these were properly recycled and only 7% of used to make new bottles. This means that most PET plastic bottles are ending up in landfills and oceans causing huge damage to the environment.
The figures published by The Guardian are not specific to only bottled water, however the bottled water market shows no signs of slowing down. As consumption has spiked over the past 15 years, bottled water has become an increasingly attractive business prospect. This has seen a massive range of bottled water brands be added to the market, and with every new brand comes an increase in plastic production and usage. Sales of bottled water are 100 times higher than they were in 1980 and it remains the fastest growing drinks market in the world. The saturation - pardon the pun - of the water market doesn’t only extend to mineral or sparkling water brands. The past few years have also seen unprecedented growth of water with super powers; Vitamin Water, Smartwater, Blk Water, FAT Water, Virtue Energy Water, Omega Enhanced Water and Protein Water. That list doesn’t even scratch the bottled water market surface, and now that water has overtaken soda sales in some countries, it's popularity is sure to continue.
To take one brand as an example, Glaceau Smartwater which is owned by Coca-Cola. Smartwater alone is now worth an estimated £22m with Coca-Cola committing to a £15m expansion of its factory. Such is the power of Coca-Cola that it produces 56,000 bottles of its chosen water product every single hour.
So how do we stop the environmental onslaught of plastic bottles? That's the question environmentalists are currently tackling. One of the most simple solutions for tackling the recycling aspect of it is to introduce deposit return schemes, as the Scottish Government proposed last week. Initiatives like these are already in place in 35 countries and are successful in improving recycling rates for plastic bottles. For example, in Norway, where deposit return schemes have been in place since 1999, 96% of all plastic bottles are returned through this system.
Plastic bottle deposit return schemes are to be introduced in Scotland
When it comes to bottled water, solutions appear pretty simple. A high standard of countertop water filter can give you all the qualities of bottled mineral water without the need for single-use bottles. Combined with a reusable bottle this can substantially reduce your plastic footprint. You can even find out exactly how much you can reduce your environmental impact through ditching bottled water by using our Save The Earth Calculator.
The Best Part...
You're already helping! Kinetic Water set out to take 1 million plastic bottles off the shelves through use of our filter by 2019. With your amazing support, we've already smashed that target in 2017! Real progress in solving the plastic crisis can be made on a mass scale but starts with individuals taking action and deciding to think about how their choices as a consumer impact the environment. The collective effect of this shift in people's mindset will lead to the change in plastic consumption that is needed to deal with the environmental threat that it currently poses. This seems to be just the tip of iceberg in terms of plastic pollution, we are only discovering the extent of the problem while trying to pinpoint solutions. A water filter can be one of the primary tools in the fightback against plastic pollution given it's ability to reduce the need for PET plastic bottles for drinking water. Join us in the fight against the plastic crisis: Kinetic Water's Alkaline Water Filter.