PACK YOUR BOTTLED WATER – BUT REMEMBER TO RECYLE

We know that water — in all its forms — is a vital component of the human diet. It’s also the one of the healthiest beverage options on the retailer’s shelve, and should therefore be included along with sunscreen and a hat in any school or sportsbag  or for the car or corporate desk this summer.

 

This is the message from South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA) technical manager, Charlotte Metcalf, as schools get stuck into their first term and companies see full staff contingents back at work.

 

“If that water comes packaged as bottled water and not in a re-usable container, SANBWA would like to urge them to remember to recycle.

 

“Bottled water is the best packaged beverage option for the environment; it has the lightest environmental footprint of all packaged beverages — one that can be reduced by 25% if consumers were to simply recycle the bottle,” she said.

 

SANBWA’s recycling tips include:

         Set up a holding area for your recyclables in your car – it could be a packet or a box in your boot.

         Bring it home. When you’re out and about and empty a plastic container (water, iced tea, colddrink, sunscreen etc), bring it home for recycling if there are no recycling options around you.

         If there is a recycling bin nearby, make certain it is for plastic, and not glass or paper. And make certain that you deposit the container securely in the bin.

         Keep the cap on. Make sure to not throw the cap in separately as it may get lost in the transportation process and become litter. 

         Visit http://www.petco.co.za/ag3nt/system/recycling_06_drop.php to find a collection depot near you.

 

According to PETCO, the plastics industry’s joint effort to self-regulate post-consumer PET recycling, it achieved an annual PET recycling rate of 42% of post-consumer beverage PET and 29% of total PET in 2011. This equates to 42 651 tons of PET out of a 145 000 ton local consumption market.

 

PETCO also tracks the recycling rate, including pre-consumer material, and for 2011, the tonnage collected and recycled – including pre-consumer – equalled 46 276 tons, representing 46% of beverage PET and 32% of total PET. 

 

All told, over 1.4 billion PET bottles were recycled across South Africa in 2011 – that’s close to 4 million bottles recycled every day. Also according to PETCO, of the PET bottles not recycled in 2011, only 1.4% were bottled water bottles – the remaining 98.6% are from other beverages.

 

FOR YOU INFORMATION:

What are bottled water bottles made from?

Like most bottles containing other beverages, bottled water bottles in South Africa can be made from glass or PET. PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, is a by-product of the oil refinement process; that is, it is not manufactured from virgin crude). Water bottle coolers commonly found in offices are made from a different kind of plastic.

 

Is PET a safe packaging option?

Yes, the inert PET bottle is a well-accepted package all over the world and is completely safe to drink from. It is also lightweight, unbreakable, and recyclable. It can be identified by a small number ‘1’ on the bottom of a container. This is often displayed inside a triangular mobius or a three-arrow recycling symbol. Alternatively, the letters ‘PET’ will be stamped into the bottle.

 

Does PET contain dioxins?

No, there is no dioxin in PET plastic. Dioxin, a chlorine-containing chemical that has no role or presence in the chemistry of PET, is formed by volcanoes (!) and combustion in incinerators at temperatures above 1700 degrees Farenheit. 

 

Does PET contain BPA?

No, Bisphenol A (BPA) is not used to make PET, nor is it used to make any of the component materials used to make PET.

 

Does PET contain DEHA?

No, DEHA is not present in PET either as a raw material or as a decomposition product. DEHA is also not classified as a human carcinogen and is not considered to pose any significant health risk to humans. It can be found in water – bottled or tap water – and is then called DOA. DOA is one of the organic containments commonly found at trace levels in just about all drinking water. It is also sometimes – wrongly – interpreted as di-ethyl hydroxyl amine which is not found in PET or in the production of PET bottles.

 

Does PET contain endocrine disruptors?

No, there are no substances known that can migrate from PET that could be responsible for the endocrine disruptors (substances having a hormonal effect) identified in a study commonly referred to as the ‘Goethe Study’. 

 

Does PET contain antimony oxide?

Yes, PET does contain antimony oxide, which is used as a catalyst. However, the amounts are well below the established safe limits for food and water set by the World Health Organisation. For example, a 60kg person would be able to tolerate an intake of 360ug but the guideline for drinking water is 15 – 20ug/l.

 

Is it safe to freeze a PET bottle, or keep it in a hot car?

Yes, of course. The idea that PET bottles ‘leach’ harmful chemicals when frozen or heated in hot cars is not based on any science, and is unsubstantiated by any credible evidence.

 

Can I reuse a PET bottle?

Yes, like other food or beverage containers, PET bottles can be re-used if you take steps to prevent the growth of bacteria. These bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments; that is, in virtually any beverage container under the right conditions. Wash all your containers, not just PET bottles, with hot soapy water and dry thoroughly between each use. Further, when looking for a bottle for long term use, pay attention to the design of it and its closure. Make certain you can easily get into all ‘nooks and crannies’ in order to be able to clean it properly.

 

Are PET bottles recyclable?

Most definitely yes, and simply recycling the PET bottle reduces its carbon footprint by some 25%. 

 

How many PET bottles are recycled?

According to PETCO, the plastics industry’s joint effort to self-regulate post-consumer PET recycling, it achieved an annual PET recycling rate of 42% of post-consumer beverage PET and 29% of total PET in 2011. This equates to 42 651 tons of PET out of a 145 000 ton local consumption market.

 

PETCO also tracks the recycling rate, including pre-consumer material, and for 2011, the tonnage collected and recycled – including pre-consumer – equalled 46 276 tons, representing 46% of beverage PET and 32% of total PET. 

 

All told, over 1.4 billion PET bottles were recycled across South Africa in 2011 – that’s close to 4 million bottles recycled every day.

 

Are bottled water bottles big culprits when it comes to refuse and landfill?

No, according to recycling concern PETCO, of the PET bottles not recycled in 2011, only 1.4% were bottled water bottles – the remaining 98.6% are from other beverages.

 

Why bottled water?

Like the planet we inhabit, our bodies comprise mostly water – the brain is 85% water, our blood is 90% water, and the liver, one of our most vital organs, is 96% water. Water — in all its forms — is therefore a vital component of our diet, as well as the healthiest beverage option for societies plagued by diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Also, bottled water is the best packaged beverage option for the environment; it has the lightest environmental footprint of all packaged beverages — one that can be reduced by 25% if consumers were to simply recycle the bottle.

 

What is bottled water?

In terms of South African legislation, bottled water is ‘water packaged for human consumption’ and it is therefore classified as a foodstuff. This means it is overseen by the Department of Health.

 

South Africa’s bottled water legislation defines three classes of water that, if correctly bottled, will be safe, healthy and pleasant tasting for the public: 

 

The first is ‘natural water’ – sourced from an underground aquifer and bottled at source. The emphasis here is on ‘natural’ and so no treatment of the water is allowed. The composition of the bottled water is therefore identical to that of the source water. Natural mineral water and natural spring water fall into this class.

 

The second class is ‘waters defined by origin’ – including rain, glacier, mist, and spring water. As a general rule these do require antimicrobial treatments but no treatments are allowed that would alter the chemical composition of the water.

 

The third class is ‘prepared water’ – including municipal, surface or ground water that has been purified by treatments that change the chemical composition of the water. In the case of municipal water, for instance, most dissolved solids and previously added chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine are removed and minerals may be added back.

 

What is SANBWA and what are its objectives?

Formed in 1997 as a standards setting and representative body, the South African National Bottled Water Association (www.sanbwa.org.za) is a not-for-profit organisation. It is committed to working with its members to promote the image and reputation of bottled water through adherence to global benchmarked standards. At the same time, it works with its members to continuously improve and conserve their water sources, which are predominantly groundwater sources, and reduce the industry’s impact on the environment.

 

How does SANBWA influence quality and safety of bottled waters?

Membership of SANBWA is voluntary but strictly controlled, and comprises bottlers of all classes of bottled water (natural, defined by origin and prepared) whose primary concern is the health, safety and pleasure of their consumers. They therefore willingly conform to the extremely stringent safety and quality measures contained in the SANBWA Bottled Water Standard.

 

What does this Standard guarantee?

A single standard covering legal, hygiene, food safety and quality, and environmental requirements, the SANBWA Bottled Water Standard benchmarks favourably against international standards and:

         ensures legal compliance

         is fully auditable so that a single audit can ensure that all legal and food safety requirements have been met thereby protecting the bottler and enabling it to prove due diligence

         helps bottlers identify the areas where they still need to improve

         assists retailers and consumers to select suppliers of safe bottled water

 

Is SANBWA concerned for the environment?

Yes, SANBWA is committed to responsible environmental stewardship, and members are required to comply with the association’s environmental vision. This includes many measures to ensure source sustainability and protection, water usage minimisation, energy efficiency, solid waste minimisation, and supporting post consumer recycling initiatives.

 

How big is the bottled water industry?

Bottled water as a consumer product in South Africa constitutes only 1.4% of the total beverage industry (by volume). It is a natural and healthy alternative to other beverages.

 

In 2010, 398 million litres of bottled water (8.3 litres/capita) was consumed in South Africa; the forecasted growth to 2014 is 2.3% and would bring the total volume to 426 million litres.

 

Does the South African bottled water industry have as large a water footprint as everyone claims?

Water Footprint is a concept that evaluates the amount of water needed to produce an item of consumption: for example, the production of 1 kg of beef requires 16 000 litres of water. 

 

And no, the bottled water industry doesn’t have a large water footprint. By comparison, to produce 1 kg of maize requires 900 litres of water, one cup of coffee needs 140 litres of water and to produce 1 sheet of A4 paper requires 10 litres of water. Bottled water’s is 1.8 litres.

 

Is the bottled water industry sustainable?

Yes, it is because it has a low water usage ration and protects its source waters.

 

‘Water usage’ refers to how much water is used to make one finished product; in bottled water’s case, one litre of bottled water. This measure includes both direct and indirect water usage (in the bottled water industry, that would be water for rinsing and sanitising bottles, plant and general cleaning and sanitation, vehicle washing, floor washing, toilets etc.) and includes water from boreholes and municipal source.

 

The South African industry water usage benchmark is 1.8:1. There are plants that achieve ratios of as low as 1.3:1. SANBWA’s figures show that, when it comes to total annual consumption, this benchmark ratio equates to 22.7 litres/second. 

 

By comparison, a golf course uses 1 litre/second per hole or 18 litres/second for an 18 hole golf course – so the total South African bottled water industry’s use is just slightly more than the equivalent used by one and a half golf courses. The fruit export industry uses 0.5 litres/second/hectare making the total South African bottled water industry’s use equivalent to that of just one 45 hectare farm.

 

All SANBWA members who bottle natural water and waters defined by origin (as defined by www.sanbwa.org.za) are required to only bottle water extracted from a sustainable source, and this source is groundwater.

 

South African legislation covering the use of groundwater is well developed, and is directed towards ensuring the sustainability of our water resources, rather than depleting them. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top