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As awareness of the plastic bottle problem gains steam, we’ve seen brands start offering a thick aluminum bottle…some also use a heavy plastic cap. While it may seem like all aluminum options are a positive, like most things in life, it’s complicated.
Recently, grocery chain New Seasons Market announced it will stop selling bottled water in all packaging materials—no plastic, no cartons, and no aluminum…except for one brand’s refillable single-serve aluminum bottled option.
These pre-filled reusable options use bottles that are significantly heavier…because they’re supposedly meant to last forever. In fact, they use over 70% more aluminum vs other aluminum bottles in the market (like the ones we use). That added material translates directly into
🏭 more emissions from manufacturing...
🚚 and transportation
The manufacturing process used to make these heavier aluminum bottles also requires 100% virgin aluminum. That means that zip, zilch, zero of the material used in this type of bottle is post-consumer. Instead, it is all being mined for the very first time.
Compare that to an average aluminum can (or thinner walled aluminum bottle) which uses nearly 75% post-consumer aluminum, reducing manufacturing emissions by up to 95%.
Sometimes these pre-filled reusable bottles also use a heavy plastic cap. These caps contain almost as much plastic as a plastic grocery bag…so switching to this alternative certainly isn’t cutting down on plastic waste.
🏖 Plastic caps are actually the 4th most commonly found item in beach cleanups, right after plastic bottles (Source: Ocean Conservancy).
So, to recap:
🏋️♀️ more aluminum used
🚫 no recycled content
♷ and a heavy plastic cap
But they will be reused many, many times, right?
Well, that might be the intention…but that doesn’t match with what is actually happening.
Think about this: most of us already have a kitchen cabinet with a half dozen reusable bottles—some were purchased, maybe you have one from your bank, a trade show, or a local road race. It is not a lack of reusable bottles that is the issue.
If people *actually* carried and refilled their reusable bottles, bottled water as a product would cease to exist.
Trying to eliminate plastic bottles by offering a pre-filled reusable option is like trying to get your roomie to do the dishes by buying more sponges.
Because what will happen next week when you've forgotten your reusable bottle again?
These inexpensive pre-filled reusable bottles do not encourage reuse. They encourage repeated purchase of a very inefficient packaging.
And look, we are fully on board for drinking from the tap whenever possible…it’s printed right on our packaging and is front and center on our homepage.
Open Water’s bottles are also refillable and we always encourage reuse, but they are made with as little material as possible, have the highest post-consumer content in the industry, use a fully recyclable aluminum cap, and are certified carbon neutral.