Waiakea Water’s Innovative and Environmentally-Conscious Bottles

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Malama ka ‘aina – (Hawaiian) to care for and live in harmony with the land.

The majority of people in the world today live in urban areas, away from the land that helps sustain our lifestyle. Unfortunately, being away from nature has often led us to ignore environmental problems and, as a result, create an unsustainable way of life.

But life in Hawaii is different because it is difficult to separate yourself from the beautiful and exotic nature on the chain of these volcanic islands. Nature is an integral part of the dazzling charm of this state. Land at Kona International Airport and you will be captivated by the runway in the middle of lava fields and its open-air terminal.

Of course, Hawaiians take pride in their unique environment and do their best to take care of it. That is why the saying malama ka ‘aina is part of their lexicon. In fact, Hawaiians also call themselves keiki o ka ‘āina, or “children of the land.”

This ecological viewpoint on life is why Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water has worked hard to pursue environmental initiatives that have led it to become one of the first premium bottled waters and beverages in the world, and the first in the United States, to be certified CarbonNeutral.

Waiakea RPET Bottle

Waiakea Water's RPET Bottles

Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water uses high-grade 100 percent RPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) for all of its water bottles. RPET is a post-consumer recycled plastic that has several environmental advantages over typical plastic bottles, which use PET (polyethylene terephthalate or the raw, petroleum-based material that is utilized for water and soda bottles, plastic packaging, and fiber or fabric applications).

Using RPET in comparison to regular plastic bottles is beneficial because:

– RPET bottles require 85 percent less energy to manufacture. Recycled plastics do need to be cleaned, shredded, crushed, and melted; however, this process is much less energy intensive compared to the creation of first-time plastics.

– RPET bottles require 90 percent less water during the manufacturing process. Although some water is still required to clean the plastic, the amount of it is significantly less compared to first-time plastics.

– RPET bottles reduce carbon emissions by over 90 percent. By using recycled materials, RPET products avoid the need for new resource extraction and protect the natural landscapes of the world.

In addition to using the highest quality RPET to create Waiakea water bottles, the company also only uses plastics that are BPA free.

Fully Degradable Bottle

Waiakea’s work doesn’t stop with RPET bottles. The company aims to create the first fully recyclable and naturally degradable bottle using renewable biopolymers. Despite lasting only 2.21 percent of the lifespan of a regular plastic bottle, Waiakea’s TimePlast bottles will be indistinguishable from untreated plastic bottles in terms of quality and function.

Plastic does eventually degrade. But that process takes more than a thousand years to happen. Waiakea is working to introduce the TimePlast additive to bottles during manufacturing to speed up the process of degradation. TimePlast helps substitute plastic’s traditional chemical bonds with less complicated links, turning it into a wax from inception. This results in a re-engineered, nano-degraded material that is dramatically weakened and has a significantly shorter ecological footprint. This carbon-based natural wax is non-toxic and biodegradable, doesn’t pollute the food chain, can be completely metabolized, and therefore doesn’t represent a biomagnification factor like regular plastic. The company is rolling out the production of these bottles in 2018.

Sustainably Sourced

The aquifer from which Waiakea water is sourced is located at the eastern base of the Mauna Loa volcano in an isolated area surrounded by rich and bio-diverse forest preserves. The slopes feeding the Kea’au aquifer capture over 200 inches of pure rainwater and snowmelt each year, converting this water into a daily sustainable yield of 393 million gallons per day.

That means that Kea’au can provide enough water to satisfy the global consumption of water in a single month. However, Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water only captures less than .0001 of 1% of this total amount of water.

To further help environmental efforts, the company uses 33 percent renewable energy, 25 percent of which is geothermal, for all of its sourcing operations. The sustainable yield and energy conservation efforts are key to preserving the natural beauty of Hawaiian landscape.

Certified CarbonNeutral

In September 2012, Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water became certified as CarbonNeutral. This certification made the company one of the first beverages to be awarded the designation.

Waiakea has worked with the CarbonNeutral company as well as Econometrica, two of the world’s leading emissions consultants, to measure and reduce the environmental impact of both its business, and its product, to net zero.

Only companies that have employed the most stringent of environmental standards and reduced their CO2 emissions to net zero in accordance with the CarbonNeutral Protocol may carry the CarbonNeutral designation. The CarbonNeutral Protocol is the global standard for carbon neutral certification.

Choosing Bottled Water Over Other Drinks

In today’s market, there are plenty of beverage choices to pick between in the grocery aisle of the supermarket. But not all choices are the same. A study released in 2010 which examined the ecological footprints of different beverages has found that water – filtered or unfiltered, as well as packaged in plastic or aluminum containers – has the least environmental impact of any beverage.

Some of the key findings of the study show that:

– Somewhat unsurprisingly, tap water has the lightest footprint of all water consumption efforts, followed by tap water consumed in reusable bottles, and then by bottled water.

– Water consumption of all types accounts for 41 percent of consumer beverage consumption. At the same time, water consumption only represents 12 percent of consumer climate change impact.

– Milk, coffee, beer, wine, and juice together compose 28 percent of consumer beverage consumption but represent 58 percent of climate change impact.

Live Sustainably

While our world faces much more pressing issues that affect the sustainability of many of Earth’s habitats than our choice of drink, even the smallest choices can have long-lasting consequences on the ecology of our planet. We all have the ability to put forth efforts to protect the environment of the Earth and conserve the land which provides us with life. After all, our land is the sole reason why all of us enjoy living.

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