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At the recent 2015 AIDS Walk, hydration was key. Throughout the route, volunteers were passing out free water. But instead of the traditional water in a plastic bottle, they were handing out water in a box (a smaller version of a milk carton) with the phrase "Boxed Water is Better". And after reading their description, I'm likely to agree on the many benefits. The explanations on the side of the box that convinced me (verbatim) are:
76% of our box is composed of a renewable resource, trees. Making it one of the most sustainable beverage packaging available.
The trees used to make our box come from certified, well managed forests. In these forests, trees constantly grow replacing the ones harvested while removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
We ship our boxes flat to our filler which is significantly more efficient compared to shipping empty plastic or glass bottles to be filled.
Our boxes are recyclable only where facilities exists (recylecartons.com) and can be easily flattened to their original state taking up less space.
We work with the world water relief, reforestation, and environmental protection projects to help enable a positive impact on humanitarian and environmental efforts. Learn more about our partnership with 1% For The Planet on our website.
During the walk, I had time to compare the pros and cons of boxed water and quickly realized the many advantages of boxed water of plastic bottles. The main advantage is the simplicity of recycling paper vs plastic. According to Ban The Bottle, Americans used 50 billion plastic bottles in 2014. And with other applications of plastic being replaced with paper (think plastic shopping bags in favor of paper bags or reusable bags), it was only a matter of time before plastic bottles be replaced with a friendlier alternative, Boxed Water.
Despite the advantages of Boxed Water over plastic bottles, a reusable container is still the most environmentally friendly. Water directly out of the tap is still the cheapest and most environmentally friendly option If you're concerned about the cleanliness of your water, there are cost effective water purifiers like ZeroWater or pricier full home solutions.
The only downfall I can think of is the shelf life and the durability when compared to plastic. The shelf life of paper products is limited by how long before the paper begins to break down. For most people, we use water bottles very frequently, and this is not an issue. The upside to paper is it's paper, not plastic, so it does not contain any BPA. Secondly, I think that the Boxed Water is less durable than plastic bottles. With enough pressure applied, I think the Box Water will explode before the Plastic Bottle. Despite this, the durability of Boxed Water is good enough for the average day-to-day experience.
However, everyone still has the occasional need for quick and/or disposable water container situations. In those cases, I'd say reaching for a Boxed Water is the recommended way. I recommend visiting BoxedWaterIsBetter.com for more information.