Article, Plastic-Free

Boxed Water Is Better: All the Sustainably Packaged Water Companies That Are Making a Splash Right Now

Apr 07, 2020
Robert Koenen
Contributing Author
Robert Koenen
Contributing Author

We’re big fans of any alternative to single-use plastic water bottles. 
Whether it’s reusable bottles, recyclable cartons, or even those biodegradable seaweed pods that were handed out at the 2019 London Marathon, we’re always excited to see options that are more eco-conscious.

More and more communities are doing away with plastic bottles altogether, and for good reason: they’re terrible for the environment. 
Here are just a few not-so-fun facts about plastic:

  • 69 billion plastic bottles are produced every year
  • Plastic takes about 700 years to break down
  • 92% of plastic never gets recycled, based on the most recent estimates
  • Plastic production pollutes; Drilling oil, molding plastic and transporting bottles creates an enormous harmful carbon footprint 
  • 1,500 single-use plastic bottles enter our landfills every second (that plastic is not getting recycled, folks!)

If you’re looking to ditch plastic water bottles, you have several brands to choose from and you probably have some questions. What’s the difference between Boxed Water vs. Just Water vs. Flow Water? What about aluminum cans? 

We want you to know your options! And most importantly, we want you to have the info you need to feel good about your choice.

Here are some sustainably packaged companies that are making a splash right now, and what they’re doing to fight back against plastic and better care for the earth. All of them are better than plastic bottles, but each one is approaching it a little differently.

Flow Water

Founder & CEO Nicholas Reichenbach came up with the idea for Flow Water after he attended Burning Man in 2015 and witnessed the startling volume of plastic water bottles that were left behind after the event.

Flow Water is sourced from natural springs in both the U.S. and Canada, and is currently packaged with a combination of aluminum, plant-based plastic, paper, and BPA-free plastic film. The company hopes to have 100% compostable packaging by 2025.  They have also a large selection of flavors to choose from. 

Flow Hydration Instagram
One of Flow Water’s key features is that it has a pH of 8.1, which makes it an attractive option for proponents of the alkaline water trend (though it’s important to note that there’s
no definitive evidence that drinking alkaline water has any benefits).

Flow Water purchases clean, renewable energy from partner Green-e, and also works with Carton Council to increase access to carton recycling throughout the U.S. and ensure that fewer recyclable cartons end up in landfills.

Just Water

In 2012, Jaden Smith saw plastic bottles floating in the ocean while he was surfing. He had recently learned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in school, and felt inspired to make a difference.

Jaden was an early consumer of Boxed Water, and went on to create his own single-use option, Just Water, which he founded with the help of his parents, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Just Water Instagram

Just Water is spring water with naturally-occuring minerals, and sustainably collected from Glens Falls, NY. The recyclable packaging is made up of 54% paper, 15% BPA-free plastic, 28% plant-based plastic, and 3% aluminum...overall about 88% renewable.

Just Water is certified by both The Rainforest Alliance and the Forest Stewardship Council, meaning the paper components of their packaging come from responsibly managed forests.

Boxed Water Is Better

Benjamin Gott founded Boxed Water Is Better (Boxed Water for short) in 2009, with the hope of helping the planet in more ways than one. Since then, we’ve been planting trees, cleaning beaches, and offering a better alternative to single-use plastic bottles.

Boxed Water packaging is 92% renewable which is the highest plant-based content of any of the major sustainable options.  It is made mostly of paper, (from FSC-certified, well-managed forests), and a small amount of plant-based bio-plastic and aluminum.  When you compare Boxed Water vs. plastic bottles, there’s no contest — Boxed Water packaging produces a 64% lower carbon footprint than plastic.

Boxed Water stands out as a company that is committed to giving back to the planet. A portion of the proceeds from Boxed Water purchases goes towards cleaning 3,000 miles of beaches with the Ocean Blue Project, and supporting our long-standing partnership with the National Forest Foundation.

Boxed Water is building a community to help the planet; planting trees for free! For every social media post featuring Boxed Water and #BetterPlanet, we plant two trees in areas affected by deforestation and wildfires. Our viral social media campaign has generated over 1,000,000 trees planted in U.S. national forests to date, many of which are planted in California to offset wildfire damage


Boxed Water Instagram

So far, we’ve planted 1,000,000 trees! You can help make that number even bigger. Plant trees with us.

New on the scene: canned water

More and more companies like Mananalu and Liquid Death are cropping up, promoting aluminum cans as sustainable or renewable.  Unfortunately, they are not.  They are made from Bauxite...a nonrenewable mineral strip-mined in South America. So is aluminum still better than plastic? Not really, and here’s why: 

While cans may be infinitely recyclable, how many cans use recycled aluminum? Not enough. Aluminum needs to be continuously produced, strip-mined and smelted. And while recycled aluminum is better for the environment than a plastic bottle that never gets recycled, there are significant downsides to aluminum cans:

  • Aluminum cans are usually made from 70% recycled material — the other 30% needs to come from mining and smelting bauxite. And that 30% is taking up twice as much energy.
  • Smelting produces 120 million tons of bauxite waste annually, including carbon dioxide, sulfur oxide, and nitrogen oxide, which contribute to climate change, smog, and acid rain.
  • Smelting and mining results in an estimated 33,000 acres of deforestation in South America annually.
  • Finally, many aluminum cans are lined with BPA (eeek!)

Overall, refillable is the best. But if you need an on-the-go water, choose containers made with paper, instead of plastic and aluminum whenever you can.

No matter the choice, choose against plastic for a better planet. We’re in this together, and we can all make a difference by saying no to plastic water bottles and aluminum cans.

Ready to make a switch from plastic and don’t have a reusable bottle handy? Do your part for a better planet. Order now.

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