4 thoughts on “Say what?

  1. Yikes says:

    “Is Boxed Water Actually Better?
    Boxed Water Is Better is … water, in a box instead of a bottle. But its main virtue is that Boxed Water is shipped better.” (Bloomberg Feb 2015) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-06/is-boxed-water-actually-better
    “For one truck’s worth of bottled water, Boxed Water can deliver 26 trucks’ worth of cartoned water. Here’s how that works out: The company sends its cartons to its filling plants empty. A single pallet can hold some 35,000 empty, flat-packed Boxed Water cartons. Only after they’re shipped to the filling station are the cartons filled.
    At the plant, one truck’s worth of empty cartons can be filled to supply the 26 trucks. The space-savings ratio may be even more favorable when comparing the rectangular, easily stacked cartons with their rounded, pre-formed plastic water bottle counterparts.”
    However: “…the cartons used in box water are not the same as those used for milk, but instead are a form of composite material manufactured by a company called Tetra Pak.
    Tetra Pak containers, though they appear as if they are made out of cardboard, are not fully biodegradable. There is indeed paper in the mix, but there is also a layer of aluminum and multiple layers of plastic, at least one on the outside and one on the inside.
    This has serious implications for both human and environmental health.
    …The cartons used to make Boxed Water have one key difference with plastic water bottles: their ease of recycling.” https://medium.com/climate-conscious/boxed-water-isnt-better-b183ba90b3b7

    • Greenwashing says:

      Tetra Pak packages are made up of three raw materials: cellulose (75%), low density polyethylene (20%), and aluminum (5%).
      Technically “re-cycling” involves taking a used product and turning it back into the same type of product, such as glass bottles being melted down and formed into new glass bottles. Since there is no inherent loss of quality this can go on forever.
      When a product doesn’t get turned back into the same product, but one of lesser quality (as with plastic recycling) it isn’t recycled, it’s downcycled. Products that are downcycled often only undergo a limited number of cycles (as few as 2) before reaching the end of their useful lives and ending up in landfill.
      For Tetra Pak containers to be recycled, their layers of paperboard, polyethylene and aluminum need to be separated out, and reformed to make new Tetra Pak cartons. However that isn’t what happens, primarily because the containers aren’t accepted for recycling in the U.S. because of the cost of the process and lack of market for the end products.
      Reportedly Tetra Pak cartons that are accepted for ‘recycling’ here are shipped in giant bales to a facility in Mexico to undergo a carbon-intensive process of separating their plastic, paper, and aluminum layers for other uses, for instance in manufacturing polymer concrete.

  2. Mark says:

    Ease of recycling is one thing but ACTUAL recycling, that is actually recycling discarded containers, is an entirely different proposition.

    Here in locked down Strayastan, each household has a recycling bin for recyclables. This is a great idea except for the fact that 70% of that bin still ends up in landfill. Clearly, a better waste management strategy is needed, backed up with public funding.

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