Have You Seen These Bottled-Water Packaging Innovations?

by Paul Schlossberg
Posted On: 5/21/2019

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Paul Schlossberg

You know how important bottled water is in your product portfolio. Even so, there is debate and controversy surrounding this important cold beverage. It mostly surrounds recycling plastic bottles -- think about bottled water and soft drinks too.

People are confused when there is inconsistency in the “how-to” of recycling. There is a recycling problem with beverage packaging -- especially bottle caps. According to earth911.com, “… every local recycling program has its own preferences. Much of the confusion with caps stems from the fact that they are made of a different plastic resin than the bottle or jug they secure. Most caps are made of polypropylene (#5 plastic), with some (like sports drink bottles) composed of high-density polyethylene (#2 plastic). Plastic bottles and jugs are typically #1 or #2 plastic.”

The explanation goes on:

“For plastic bottles, you need to ask your local recycling program whether caps are accepted before trying to recycle them with the bottle. Some will ask you to leave them on, some accept caps but want them separated, and some will ask you to throw them away.” Now you see why people are confused about recycling plastic bottles.

We were traveling internationally recently and encountered two bottled-water packaging innovations. It is important to pay attention to products and packaging when you’re away from home. It’s even more important when you’re out of the country.

The first one was discovered when we checked into our hotel in Paris. It was a 50 cl. (centiliters – 500 ml., equivalent to 16.9 fl.oz.) bottle of Cristaline brand spring water. The innovation (from our perspective) was immediately noticeable. (See photos) There was no screw-off cap. It was, instead, a flip-top plastic lid. Here was a package which was easy to open and close. If you remove a screw-off cap, you might not be able to find it later. That problem was solved. The cap was attached to the bottle, whether open or closed.

We inquired about whether or not the bottle was recyclable with the cap on -- and were informed that we could drop the empty bottle, cap attached, in one of the many convenient recycling bins around Paris.

The second innovative bottled water package we came upon was at the airport in Philadelphia, where we connecting from Paris en route back to Austin. While waiting for our flight, we were handed 16.9-fl.oz. bottles of Just Water 100% Spring Water. (See photos) It was a “paper-based bottle with a plant-based cap,” according to their website.

Here is how they describe the benefits of their packaging: “The JUST bottle is a better option. Improved environmental impact. Delicious, pure, high-quality spring water every time. No sacrifice.”

Pay attention to packaging innovations in every product category you are selling. Be sensitive to finding products with positive sustainability and recycling benefits. This is a good idea on two levels. First, it will show that your company is focused on doing “good” for a sustainable environment. Your shoppers will appreciate that. And, second, you might sell more stuff when these products are stocked on your micromarket shelves and in your vending machines.
OPEN AND SHUT: Water bottles encountered on a recent trip show several approaches to enhancing the recyclability of the package. From left are three views of a Crystaline bottle (purchased in France), showing its attached lid and its description on the label, and two sides of a Just Water bottle (from the Philadelphia airport), showing "paper-based" bottle with "plant-based" lid. Traveling is a good way to encounter new ideas.

Paul Schlossberg is president of D/FW Consulting, working with clients to merchandise and market products in impulse-intense selling environments, such as vending, onsite foodservice and convenience stores. Based in the Austin, TX, area, he can be reached by emailing to
Paul@DFWConsulting.net, calling him at (972) 877-2972. The company is online at www.DFWConsulting.net.