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Green Planet Bottle, Not So Green

Date: 01-Apr-10
Author: Nayelli Gonzalez

It has arrived. Ladies and gentlemen: the compostable water bottle has arrived. Earlier this month, Green Planet Bottle launched an organic, 100% plant-based bottle which is not only petroleum- and BPA-free, but it's also carbon neutral. This is certainly a good business move: Green Planet is entering the $11 billion bottled water market that doesn't seem to go away. But can bottled water really be "green," or sustainable?

The company is targeting schools, corporate campuses, and hotels, and can be used to gain LEED certification. According to the press release that announced the launch, "Green Planet Bottling was formed to help its customers make positive and sustainable differences by making a product that is healthy for our bodies and our planet. Its vision is to become the premier bottler of waters/beverages in organic, sustainable packaging."

This upsets me. According to a study conducted by the Pacific Institute, bottled water raises serious concerns about the energy and water resources required to produce bottles and deliver them to consumers. The process of bottling water produces more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, and it takes 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water. Transporting bottled water also requires millions in barrels of oil. And the list goes on...

Most people who know about environmental issues know that bottled water is unsustainable on many levels. Changing the way the bottle is made is not a sustainable answer to bottled water. A compostable bottled water is still bottled water. Even so, the Green Planet website claims it is a "category changer." As a brand, they are reframing the controversy of bottled water and are positioning themselves as a sustainable alternative to old school bottled water. Their strategy, in my opinion, is the strategic version of greenwashing. The company is opportunistically capitalizing on people's desire to be environmentally responsible (and buy compostable vs. plastic products), and is misleading the public about the true environmental sustainability of its product.

Other than promoting the bottle's material, nowhere on the Green Planet Bottling website can one find information about the sustainability of the company. Is the production process sustainable? Do they use alternative sources of energy to manufacture the compostable bottle and then bottle the water? Do they use hybrid or electric vehicles to transport the bottles (or are they still using gas-guzzling trucks)? And what are they doing to teach consumers about water conservation and the larger global water crisis? Those answers are not available online-and that's probably another strategic move.

Reprinted with permission from EcoLocalizer.com

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