A new study by UK-based independent think tank and charity Green Alliance has highlighted that the use of different materials instead of plastic will also cause different environmental problems.
In the bottled water market, several packaging options such as single-use cans, glass bottles or cartons are now available.
Titled ‘Losing the bottle: why we don’t need single-use containers for water’, the research noted that using refillable containers are the only low-impact option for the bottled water market.
Using plastic alternatives such as aluminium cans could create enough toxic waste to fill the Royal Albert Hall six times, glass bottles could create as many emissions as are created by a population the size of Bath, and cartons can fill nearly 9,000 bin lorries with low-quality containers that cannot be recycled.
According to the study, the usage of bottled water has doubled in the past 15 years in the UK with the average adult using 150 single-use plastic water bottles a year.
Green Alliance resources senior policy adviser Libby Peake said: “‘Single-use’ was named word of the year in 2018 as the public became more aware of the impacts of our throwaway society. But so far, people are mainly targeting single-use plastic and the concern hasn’t translated to other materials, which also have environmental consequences.
“If we don’t need single-use plastic water bottles, we also don’t need single-use cans, cartons or glass bottles for water.”
The study recommends that using high-quality tap water and a refillable bottle can have a lower carbon impact on the environment than switching to other single-use container types.
Peake added: “The good news is, it’s easy to do the right thing when it comes to drinking water and the environment. Tap water in refillable containers is the most sustainable option, and is hundreds of times cheaper to boot.”