Quenching one’s thirst in this years’ reoccurring heat waves is a non-negotiable necessity for many of us. Some people are carrying fancy flasks wherever they go, others quickly grab a plastic bottle when leaving the house.
The problem with one-use plastic water bottles is that they are not recyclable. They can’t be recycled in the same way as glass or paper, and so end up being thrown away into landfill sites where they take hundreds of years to decompose. This is a huge environmental issue because it takes an enormous amount of energy to make new plastics from oil, which we then throw away again when we use them for packaging.
Problems with disposable plastic bottles
- They take a long time and energy to produce.
- The process of producing them is not eco-friendly.
- Most people don’t have the option to use reusable ones in their daily lives.
- People are using more than they need for themselves because it’s convenient.
- It takes up space that could be used for other things instead.
- There will always be a way to recycle these plastics, but there won’t be any recycling facilities everywhere.
- Plastic can leach chemicals into our food or drinks when heated.
Which brings us to biodegradable options for water bottles.
There are a few different types of biodegradable plastic that can be used in place of regular plastics (Polyethylene Terephthalate, or PET), but they all have their own pros and cons. Here is a quick overview.
Alternatives to Polyethylene Terephthalate in plastic bottles:
- BPA-free polycarbonate – this type of bottle has been around since the 1970s but was phased out by some manufacturers due to concerns about its safety. It’s still widely available though.
- Polylactic acid, also known as ‘plant based’ PLA, starch-based PLA or corn-based PLA – these types of bottles have become more popular in recent times although their rate of breakdown varies considerably depending on soil conditions. Some studies suggest that plant-based PLAs may break down slower than traditional PET bottles if buried in sand.
- Recycled content – many companies now offer 100% recycled content bottled waters such as Aquafina and Dasani. Check the recycling symbol on your local product before you buy!
Here are some of our favorite, biodegradable products:
1. Water bottles from Nalgene
Those bottles are made from BPA free materials and come in several sizes including 1L, 2L, 3L, 4L, 5L & 6L. The company offers both clear and opaque versions. You can find them at most major retailers like Target, Walmart, Costco etc.
2. Cove Water Bottles
Cove’s website describes the Cove water bottle as the world’s first entirely biodegradable plastic water bottle. It is made of PHA, a “naturally occurring biopolymer”; the label and ink are made of non-toxic materials. Upon finishing a bottle, Cove’s website advises reusing it until the use-by date, then placing it in a compost bin.
3. Biodegradable bamboo water bottles by OmoBamboo
Bamboo Water Bottles are made using sustainable methods and materials and are therefore eco friendly. The bamboo used comes from certified sources and is grown without pesticides or fertilisers. There are different grades of bamboo ranging from food grade through to industrial grade. Industrial grade bamboo is cheaper but less durable than food grade.
4. The EcoBottle
Using more than 70% renewable energy, EcoBottles are the only bottle made from cork and sugar cane biomass that would otherwise end up in the landfill. As a result, the production process leaves a net zero Carbon footprint. The factory in western Sweden is equipped with solar panels on the roof, providing green electricity to the building and their vehicles. The carbon footprint of bottles sold in Northern Europe is 2.37 kg (per kg of material).
5. Starch-based PLA water bottles from Osmos
This brand uses organic farming practices and is one of the first brands to use PLA in their bottles. They claim that it’s safe because it doesn’t contain bisphenol A. Their bottles are compostable and non toxic so feel good every time you drink from them.
6. JUST Water BPA-free bottle
Water carton bottles made by Just water are made with plant-based paper, recycled from FSC-certified forests. Sugarcane is used for the cap. Therefore, the entire package can be composted.
Water is purified before bottling to ensure only the most beneficial minerals remain. In addition, the production of cardboard cartons cuts carbon emissions by more than 74% over plastic bottles.
Just water is made from sustainable materials and bottled in Glens Falls, NY.
7. Flow Alkaline spring water
This company uses water from an artesian spring owned by their family. The product does not contain any sweetener or preservative. There are some electrolytes and essential minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and bicarbonate, in it. Combined, these elements give water its fresh taste and pH balance of 8.1.
More than 68% of the material used in the carton is renewable. There’s no plastic in the cap, so it’s 100% recyclable. This product is largely BPA-free.
8. Rethink Water
The brand produces its cartons from biodegradable and recyclable TetraPak materials. The bottles are BPA-free and natural. There are no additives, preservatives, or fluoride in the water. The water is filtered to have an ideal pH balance.
9. Aqua Water Supply Box
Aqua Water Supply’s boxed water carton is made from sustainable materials, except for the plastic straws. The container is sterile and hermetically sealed. As a result, there is no risk of flavor or package migration entering your drinking water.
A municipal water supply provides the water. It has no additives or preservatives of any kind. Prior to packaging, the water is UHT pasteurized.
10. Choose Water
The Choose Water bottle, invented by James Longcroft, is made up of 100% biodegradable plastic. Best of all, the bottle completely decomposes in just three weeks.
Using eco-friendly paper instead of plastic prevents the contamination of the sea life ecosystem with microfibres, which can enter the food chain. The bottles are created from sustainable materials so they are nontoxic and do not harm the environment when they degrade.