In 2013, The University of Vermont issued a bottled water ban on its campus. The intent was good – the university wanted to reduce plastic bottle waste. Unfortunately, the result was not what anyone expected.
According to NPR, the number of single-use bottles being shipped to campus went up by 6% in the first semester. The students ended up using more single-use bottles and drinking the more readily available, less healthy beverages.
That’s right – the ban actually led students to consume less healthy drinks while causing more plastic bottle waste!
No industry receives more scrutiny than bottled water when it comes to sustainability, even though plastic water bottles account for less than 1% of plastics produced in the US. While we are aware of the rising use of plastic and its harmful effect on the environment, we are against the bottled water ban because we believe it’s too limited in focus.
As of today, soda sales outpace bottled water sales. Much of that soda is delivered in the form of plastic bottles. So why not also focus on banning plastic soda sales as well? If the University of Vermont experiment is any indication, wouldn’t this approach further reduce plastic bottle waste? Banning anything is simply not a way to get a society to move. However, offering options is.
So we’ve given you our take on the bottled water ban, but what about our solution?
The biggest offender of plastic bottle waste is the travel size bottles. Although for health reasons this option is a phenomenal alternative to soda, it is a “one time” use disposable item.
While we do sell travel size plastic bottles, it is not our mainstay, top seller or recommended mode of consuming water. However, since we do offer the option, we have decided to work with only suppliers with a thoughtful mindset when it comes to packaging. Our bottle supplier has taken notice and made award-winning changes to their packaging in order to counterbalance increases in productivity. The bottles are 100% recyclable, and they now have a thinner body, smaller cap, and smaller label. This reduces the amount of plastic used right out of the gate. As an added bonus, the lighter bottle weight allows more to be shipped per truckload, reducing vehicle emissions.
Speaking of shipping, perhaps the biggest consideration that is ignored is where the product is coming from. The globalization of the food and beverage system is killing our planet and reducing the quality of what we put into or bodies.
A bottle of water that came from Fiji certainly has a larger carbon footprint than a bottle produced in your hometown. Shipping materials, fuel, emissions, it is all reduced when you simply buy local. Distillata is through and through a local, Northeast Ohio company. When you buy from us, you are buying local!
When we say bottled water coolers, we mean those 3 and 5-gallon plastic bottles. So how does this address the bottled water ban controversy?
Simply put, they can be sanitized and re-used hundreds of times and are recycled at the end of their life offering you a waste free bottled water alternative.
In addition, our water coolers last pretty much a lifetime. Not to toot our own horn but we have been able to create a system that keeps production of new water coolers to a minimum. Once a water cooler does finally reach the end its life, it is scrapped with a local vendor and the parts are repurposed.
Bottled water coolers tend to be a preferred option for homes and small businesses as consumption is often on the low to moderate side. If you’re an environmentally-conscious business owner or just looking for a more sustainable way to enjoy great-tasting water at home, a bottled water cooler is a great option.
When we use the term water filtration systems, we are referring to a plumbed in, static unit that treats and chills your tap water.
Water filters are growing in popularity and are in prominent earth-friendly locations such as health food stores and other arenas. Our inline filters are great for companies that have higher water consumption demands and are sustainable because they eliminate the need for any plastic bottle at all!
The only requirement of these units is changing the filter periodically (as little as once a year). As with the plastic water bottle option, filters that reach the end of their useful life are scrapped and repurposed to further reduce environmental impact.
As you can see, there really is more to the story when it comes to bottled water. By participating in the proper handling of the packaging and becoming educated in alternative ways to get great-tasting, quality water, it is completely possible to enjoy your favorite refreshment in a purposeful and sustainable way.
If you’re looking for ways to be kind to Mother Earth, we’re right there with you. And if you’re curious to know how good our water tastes, we’re just a phone call or email away. Give us a call at (800) 999-2906 or fill out a contact form today. We look forward to speaking with you!