By Aaima Ali, Marketing Executive, Belu
We recently published an impact report for 2021 in which we shared our reasons behind the decisions we’ve taken for how best to serve water to customers both on the go or on site. Making the right decision takes time and work. Glass, can or plastic. It’s not always straightforward.
In this blog, we will discuss the thought process behind the impact of our packaging, with a focus on mineral water and our Filter in Action proposition. We hope to give you a fresh perspective on choices, and how we give the conscious consumer the choice to build a better world through their buying decisions.
The Great Material Debate
At Belu, we have always strived to make well-informed decisions to understand our impact. One way of doing so has been to explore different packaging materials and how they treat the environment/the risks that they pose. We investigated a range of materials and below is a summary of our main findings.
Facts about the materials that we do not use in our packaging:
- Cartons: They are difficult to recycle as the packaging consists of 74% paper, 22% plastic, and 4% aluminium, making it difficult to separate and recycle each component separately.
- Cans: Aluminium does have its benefits as it’s infinitely recyclable and suited to closed loop manufacturing. While the recycling rate for aluminium is 72%, 25% of what is recycled cannot be made into new cans. Aluminium is extracted through a process called Bauxite mining, and this can prove extremely harmful to the environment. There is still a lot of canned water getting shipped in from Europe and this is not environmentally sound. Another lesser-known piece of information is that many cans have an internal plastic lining, meaning they are not a 100% plastic free solution. All of this also means that they have a high carbon footprint.
Facts about the materials that we do use in our packaging:
- Glass Bottles: Did you know that glass is infinitely recyclable? This makes it perfect for closed loop manufacturing (one of the many steps we take towards our journey to net zero). Glass can also be easily made and recycled within the UK which helps us put the environment first, something that is engrained in Belu’s DNA. Here are some of the steps we take to put the environment first:
- We minimise our environmental impact by using widely recycled materials
- We bottle all of our products in the UK
- We do not export our drinks
- Plastic Bottles: And last to join our discussion on materials, is plastic. In the hands of those with a relaxed attitude to single use, most materials can prove to be harmful commodities. It is not always the material, but the habits we have formed around “on-the-go” consumerism and convenience. Plastic can absolutely be a harmful material if not recycled or disposed of properly, however, is also a lightweight recyclable material that is suitable for closed loop recycling without the requirement for virgin PET.
Why we stick to our 100% recycled plastic bottles
Now, the question of why Belu chooses to manufacture 100% recycled bottles. Our decision is a holistic one, based on observations of our own performance, all well as of those around us.
While there are plenty of claims of being #plasticfree, not many people look into the role that carbon emissions end up playing. The main reason for studying all the materials discussed above, was that we did not want to encourage consumers to shift from plastic to another material that would not support a recycling infrastructure or produce high carbon emissions. This is exactly why we ruled out the options of using cartons and cans within our business at this time.
While we have the perfect solution to reduce single use in our Filter in Action offering, on the go options are needed as well. From a planetary perspective, the most credible choice for us was to continue to pursue the option with the lowest carbon footprint, which would be compatible with the circular economy model as well, therefore, 100% recycled PET.
Belu Filter in Action
So what’s the best solution for serving water to customer on site?
By far our biggest innovation to date, Belu filtration systems enable our customers to provide ambient, chilled, hot, still or sparkling water, and reduce their reliance on single-use products. Our filtered water not only tastes amazing but can save approximately 12,000 single-use water bottles. Operationally, Filter in Action is a sustainable solution that reduces waste, lowers recycling costs, and saves valuable fridge space.
Some of our top filtration customers Include:
- The Pig
- The Red Carnation Hotel Collection
- Cowley Manor
- Café Murano
- Darjeeling Express
Want to learn more?
If you’d like to serve Belu and help change the way the world sees water, please do get in touch https://belu.org/get-in-touch/
Belu is a drinks business that puts people and the environment first. Launched in 2007, Belu’s purpose is to change the way the world sees water. In pursuit of this purpose, Belu invests all of its profits into saving carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere, implementing a circular economy and bringing clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to everyone, everywhere. So far, over £5.2 million has been invested in transforming lives worldwide through their impact partner, WaterAid.