Packaging plays a crucial role in protecting our food and avoiding unnecessary waste of foodstuffs. Moreover, it helps protect the original purity and unique specificities of natural mineral waters, ensuring they remain pure and microbiologically safe.
In the case of natural source waters, which are safe to drink at source, the packaging plays a vital role in ensuring producers can bring the purity of the source to the shopping cart without interference with the integrity of the product.
All packaging material for bottled water must comply with EU and national legislation, including regulations related to food contact materials.
DEFRA’s Sustainability Road Map for Soft Drinks has shown that bottled water is the lowest impact packaged drink in the soft drinks sector, whether judged by its carbon footprint or its water footprint since there are no agricultural water inputs and limited water processing inputs.
On average, it takes an estimated 1.53 litres of water to produce a 1 litre of bottled water. This includes the water used in the manufacturing stages and the water in the bottleDEFRA Sustainability Road Map for Soft Drinks*.
All packaging used by natural source water is 100% recyclable, be it plastic PET (polyethylene terephthalate), glass or aluminium. These materials are all safe and abide by strict food contact regulations.
In 2013, the UK became one of the top 3 markets in the EU in absolute collected tons for PET plasticPCI PET Plastic Packaging, Resin & Recycling Ltd. Almost all local authorities in the UK (99%) accept plastic bottles as part of the household collection schemeRecoup UK Household Plastics Collection Survey, 2014. Where they are not included in the collection scheme, the bottles can be taken to a local household waste and recycling centre. They can also be recycled on-the-go in recycling bins in town centres and shopping centres.
For more information about PET plastic see this page.
The bottled water industry has made great strides to streamline both its primary packaging (bottles, caps and labels) and secondary packaging (film, pallets and crates).
The weight of PET water bottles has been significantly reduced over the last few decades. A 1.5 litre PET bottle is now about 30% lighter than it was twenty years ago. By producing lighter bottles, mineral water producers use fewer raw materials and are more energy and resource efficient in the process.
Innovative design and new packaging solutions have also contributed to improvements in packaging and weight reduction. Some producers are also looking for alternative materials in the production of their new bottles. PET nonetheless remains one of the most durable, lightweight and resistant packaging currently available, not to mention that it is 100% recyclable.
* Data from the DEFRA Sustainability Road Map for Soft Drinks for the average amount of water used in the manufacturing stages: Fruit juice & smoothies – 2.97 litres; still drinks & juice drinks – 1.36 litre; carbonated soft drinks – 1.1 litres; bottled water – 0.53 litres.