Boxed Water is Better, an upstart company based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is trying to think inside the box to address the ecological concerns presented by the bottled-water industry. The company seals carbon-filtered water in cartons not unlike those you might find your milk or orange juice in.
The packaging itself is, at first glance, quite impressive. Any given Boxed Water carton is made from 76 percent renewable resources—meaning trees—that come from well-managed forests, according to the company. Before filling they are shipped flat to cut down on transportation waste. Cartons are even recyclable, but not all recycling facilities are able to handle them.
In a conversation with Treehugger.com blogger Pablo Päster, bottled water sustainiability expert and founder of Ecomundi Ventures Alex McIntosh worries that, while many aspects of boxed water are appealing, some questions have not been answered. McIntosh presents a number of unanswered questions about boxed water:
Have they conducted a life cycle analysis of their specific material and manufacturing process? Have they done a comparative study versus other packaging and water source options? Does their packaging contain non-paper elements (thus making recycling more difficult)? How does their water sourcing value chain compare with other models in terms of water, energy and wastewater?
Fact Company Design's Suzanne Lebarre has some hyper-practical concerns. "Imagine jogging with a milk carton or trying to put it in your purse after you've already opened it," she writes. "You might as well stick a hose in there." Boxed Water acknowledges that their product is not yet perfect, notably that choosing tap water is probably the most environmentally conscientious way to drink.
Image courtesy of Boxed Water is Better.