Monday, February 9, 2009

USDA chooses "green" water bottle brand

Packaging Digest, which also picked up the Collegian article about our water bottle protest, has posted an article about how the USDA has selected Naturally Iowa to provide them with "green" bottled water.

While I don't personally get excited about corn-based bottles, Naturally Iowa claims that their Green Bottle Spring Water is only sold "through partners that agree to collect empty bottles on site in special receptacles to ensure the bottles do not end up in landfills." This is promising, because compostable bottles that end up in landfills are pointless.

I'm impressed that water bottle waste was considered enough of a priority to the USDA for them to research/find a company that adopts sustainable practices. While I could get long-winded here talking about how wasteful corn is, I'll save that for another time and celebrate this small victory instead. I'll also keep quiet on how this is still "spring" water and not tap water.

I'm grateful for baby steps in lieu of crawling...


  1. I am hesitant to call this a step in the right direction, it's more or less a smaller step in the wrong direction. As Alex said, corn-based solutions are corn-based problems that themselves require enormous fuel inputs including...petroleum fertilizer. Is the fabrication cost lower? Are the water use costs lower for these bottles? Are the shipping costs any lower?
    The only cost reduction would seem (on the face of it) at the end of the cycle which is awfully late in the the Rs: Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. This seems (and I should check it) to be on the recycling end.

  2. According to its website, it uses 65 percent less energy to fabricate the organic bottles then petrol based bottles.
    I think people are missing the point here. While the direct impact here is less then a drop in the bucket this is a huge step foward. This will put pressure (eventually) on plastic manufactors to use less oil.

    And that IS the goal.

  3. Corn bottles may not be the total answer however it must be a step in the right direction, what is most strange when we are trying to be green the price oil hits less than forty dollars a barrel in turn making the oil based plastics 30% less than they were six months ago and now nearly 3 times more than a compostable alternative, maybe recycle is the short term answer,Rpet is still an oil based product and until we can find a sustainable alternative that is home grown, the governments are going to lead us down the recycle avenue,

  4. Ideally, we wouldn't use single serve water bottles at all. There are so many complicated factors in picking a more eco-friendly package that makes it difficult to choose alternatives (for those who prefer a transition to bottle-free status).

    I like the idea of reusable glass bottles (ideally filled with tap water) for such a transition. Costs would go down for everyone, I'd hope...except the whole transportation of heavy glass bottles. This is why I prefer cold turkey quitting, since none of the current alternative options are satisfying.

  5. Richard,
    Point well-taken. But landfill-bound waste is still landfill-bound waste and the one-use water bottle is still a one-use water bottle. 65% less oil in the fabrication cost is much less bad, but still bad.