On a personal level, the year 2020 came with a promise; to live in a cleaner, healthier, and more eco-friendly way.
Although I have spent the last couple of years switching to a meat-free, dairy-free and cruelty-free lifestyle – and working my way through my home swapping out single-use and disposable plastic items for more reusable, ethical solutions – I still felt there was room for improvement.
In a bizarre twist of fate, the arrival of the Coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown in the UK has pushed me to fulfil that commitment in new ways.
Some of my readers may have seen over on Instagram that I recently signed up for an ‘Oatlife’ milkman (delivering oat milk to the doorstep in reusable glass bottles) and for plastic-free fruit and veg deliveries from Pikt (great ways to go eco-friendly and #StayHome at the same time).
One area I haven’t talked about too much, however, is that concerning drinking water.
Of course it’s easy to turn on a tap and refill reusable metal bottles where you can; but living in a hard water area, and constantly needing to make juices and formula for babies – especially in an old house, where we’ve been warned of lead from the pipes (our house was built in the 1870s!) – changes things somewhat. So what do you do?
A three-pronged approach to sustainable drinking water
Back in February I attended an event called ‘Life Lessons Festival’, where attendees were given water in cartons.
I’m always a little skeptical when it comes to plastic-free solutions like this, since discovering that drinking water distributed in aluminium cans (which I’ve been given at a several supposedly ‘green’ events), actually has a higher carbon footprint than plastic bottles.
It seems our appetite for plastic alternatives can sometimes usher in less-favourable solutions under a cloak of ‘plastic = bad, everything else = good’; which isn’t strictly true.
So, naturally, I quizzed the team distributing the water (marketed as Water Cubed or WATER3). What makes them an ethical brand? How are they looking to reduce the 7.7 billion plastic water bottles we throwaway in the UK each year? What does the ‘cubed’ stand for?
Here’s what I learnt…
WATER3 are part of the DRINKS3 group; whose motivation is to become the lowest CO2 footprint soft drinks brand in the UK by 2022.
Unlike many other plastic alternative brands, DRINKS3 use their carbon footprint as a metric to measure how ‘green’ they really are.
Their cartons are 100% recyclable as a single unit and 96% of local councils recycle their cartons (please always check whether your local council recycles cartons of any kind, before you go putting them in the recycle bin).
What makes them particularly innovative in this field, however, is their overall approach. DRINKS3 have identified 3 key areas as the biggest issues relating to climate change in the beverage industry. Those are: Packaging, Distribution and Production; and they’re tackling each of them.
What makes Water Cubed unique?
DRINKS3 are fairly new kids on the block, having launched in July 2019. However, they’re changing a couple of major things about the drinks and beverage industry.
When we see a nicely packaged aluminum can or ‘reused’ plastic bottle, it’s easy to forget how it reached us.
Many of these ‘greener’ solutions are indeed improving on the plastic war, yet reach us in diesel trucks from less than efficient factories that have been operating since the 1960s and ‘70s, where we simply didn’t consider the carbon footprint of manufacturing in the way that we do today.
These guys are about to change all that. As well as the nifty square design of their Water Cubed cartons (which delivers far greater transport efficiencies compared to round bottles); their actual production techniques offer the following solutions:
1. Packaging – The WATER3 natural mineral water carton-bottles are made from 100% responsibly sourced materials of which over 90% are plant based. These have been proven to generate up to 41% less CO2 than multilayer plastic bottles.
2. Distribution – DRINKS3 are investing in a fleet of electric trucks which are estimated to arrive in 2020. Each truck will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approx. 1,000 tonnes of CO2 per year (based on being charged with wind power energy).
3. Production – DRINKS3 are also in the process of building their own production facility in the UK which will be exclusively powered by renewable energy. This source of renewable energy will also be used to power their fleet of electric vehicles. Say goodbye to diesel deliveries!
I’m happy to have found my drinking water solution, and will be encouraging local offices and sporting events, etc. to invest in a more carbon-efficient solution too.