One thing I’ve learned while putting together this series on the future of drinking water is this: it’s a lot easier to get stories from people who are actively engaged in selling water, and are making a living doing so, than it is from people who are otherwise concerned with water protection or distribution.
This is not meant as an editorial comment or criticism (I’ll save those for my final wrap-up) but is merely an observation. The one comment that I will make at this time is that I would welcome more submissions from people engaged in other facets of the water issue, in order to bring a more balanced perspective to the series.
That being said, there has been a lot of recent innovation and progress to report from bottled beverage companies becoming more sustainable even if it is of the “do less harm” variety, as opposed to bringing new value to society. Still, progress is progress and is almost always preferable to its opposite.
Late last week, Danone, the world’s second largest producer of bottled water, announced a new design for its Evian water bottle. While earlier bottle designs focused on increased visual appeal such as this version, designed by Jean Paul Gaulthier, or this one by Issey Miyake, this latest is clearly aimed to make its product and therefore its business more sustainable.
The new 1.5 liter bottle will contain 11% less plastic, dropping from 32 to 28.6 grams. This results in a bottle with a 32% carbon footprint reduction, which should put the company well on its way towards its goal to cut CO2 emissions by 40 percent between 2008 and the end of 2011. Furthermore, the bottle will contain 50% recycled PET. The new bottle, like its predecessor, is 100% recyclable.
The announcement comes at the same time that Pepsi has come out with their new recyclable plant based bottle.
According to Danone, the new bottle is “even easier to crush” than its predecessor, taking up less space in recycling bins. Evian introduced compactable bottles 15 years ago.
“With the launch of our latest bottle which is lighter and more compactable, we hope that our consumers will feel good about purchasing Evian, and feel encouraged to recycle,” said Jerome Goure, vice president of marketing for Danone Waters of America.
Towards that end, the company was the first in the bottled water business to partner with RecycleBank in the US back in 2008. Evian also supports the “Eco-Emballages” program in France which finances up to 50% of nationwide municipal recycling.
The company also instated the Evian Water Protection Institute to maintain and/or restore wetlands, with the aim of promoting the well-being of local communities and fair access to resources. They have also taken numerous actions to protect their catchment area in the Gavot plateau in the French Alps.
On the other hand, the Evian mist spray bottle received mixed reviews.
RP Siegel is the co-author of the eco-thriller Vapor Trails. Like airplanes, we all leave behind a vapor trail. And though we can easily see others’, we rarely see our own.
Follow RP Siegel on Twitter.