Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bottled water shown to have lightest environmental footprint among packaged drinks

Bottled water shown to have lightest environmental footprint among packaged drinks

In a recent study conducted by Quantis International, a leader in life-cycle analyses (*), water, in all its forms, has the least environmental impact of any beverage choice. And when compared to other packaged beverages, including soft drinks, sports drinks, enhanced waters and juices, bottled water has the lightest environmental footprint.

The study is believed to be the first peer-reviewed, comprehensive analysis of the environmental impact of water and alternative beverage options, including filtered and unfiltered tap water consumed from reusable plastic, steel and aluminum containers. The analysis follows internationally accepted standards for methodology and transparency in reporting all findings, including favorable and unfavorable comparisons with other beverage options.

According to the report, packaging and distribution are key contributors to a beverage’s carbon footprint. Bottled-water is 100 per cent recyclable. The average bottle of water travels about 155 miles (250 kilometers) from source to shelf, compared to 1,490-1,985 miles (2,400-3,200 kilometers) for fresh fruit and vegetables and most consumer packaged goods, according to Washington agricultural consultant Dan Murphy. Bottled water also does not use “grown” ingredients, such as sugar, which eliminates the environmental impact of additional water, pesticides and energy usage associated with harvesting those ingredients.


Water is the least environmentally impactful beverage option.
• Tap water has the lightest footprint, followed by tap water consumed in reusable bottles (if used more than 10 times), and then by bottled water.

• Water of all types accounts for 41% of a consumer’s total beverage consumption, but represents just 12% of a consumer’s climate change impact.

• Milk, coffee, beer, wine and juice together comprise 28% of a consumer’s total beverage consumption, but represent 58% of climate change impact.
Bottled water is the most environmentally responsible packaged drink choice.
• Sports drinks, enhanced waters and soda produce nearly 50% more carbon dioxide emissions per serving than bottled water.

• Juice, beer and milk produce nearly three times as many carbon dioxide emissions per serving as bottled water.
Choosing between bottled and tap water is just one of many decisions that affect the environmental impact of the water that consumer’s drink.
• Aspects such as transportation, refrigeration, dishwashing, and recycling can also play a large role, as do choices among options within the bottled water category.
Norland International believes that we all need to be conscious of the environment and the affect of our daily lives on the earth. Norland is a trusted and well recognized world-class provider of small-to-medium sized turnkey bottled water treatment and packaging solutions.

(*) The “life cycle analysis study”, was conducted by Quantis International, a leader in life cycle analyses and related applications.