Does a Box Make it Better?

Does a Box Make it Better?

That’s the slogan of a new packaged water company based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The clean white, paper-based, thirst busting carton produces by Boxed Water proudly exclaims that “Boxed Water is Better.”

The company claims to be trying to make the bottled water market more sustainable. Their paper-based cartons are made from a renewable resource, trees that are grown in certified, well-managed forests and can be recycled in some communities, where carton-recycling facilities exist. The company has also promised to donate 10% of their profits to water relief and reforestation foundations. Boxed Water is trying hard to present an image of a company that is thinking differently about the environmental impact of packaged water.

Too bad these differences aren’t any better for the environment. Standard plastic a.k.a. polyethylene terephthalate (PET) water bottles are just as recyclable, and are accepted at more recycling facilities in the US than cartons. Many PET water bottles are now made with new bioplastics derived from corn and other renewable crops making them compostable. Even the big bottled water companies, like Evian and Coco-Cola, are increasing their social responsibility image by donating to or creating charitable foundations.

The real problem with packaged water is the artificial demand created to fuel sales. With water taps that bring clean and fresh water for pennies a glass installed in most homes and offices in North America, water companies are trying to sell us a product that we don’t really need - and this isn’t changed at all by the packaging it comes in.

So what does Boxed Water think of all this? They respond by saying they are taking a step in the right direction by providing consumers an alternative that is slightly less bad than bottled water. Sorry guys, but this is pure bullshit, I’ll still be drinking tap water from my reusable water bottle. How about you?

April 25, 2012