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Every year, an average vessel of 22 crew members consumes close to 18 tons of drinking water.  With an estimated 55.000 vessels on our planet, this equates close to 1 billion litres of water delivered onboard. Considering that an Aquafina one-litre bottle weighs 41 grams and is 10.1 inches tall and almost 3 inches wide, it is possible to use all these bottles to build a bridge to the moon that is 0.5 metres wide.


Environmental agencies and consultancies worldwide have long declared a war on plastic, and there is a myriad of reasons for this. 


Firstly, plastic bottles require copious amounts of resources to be made and transported; every one-litre plastic bottle is responsible for the use of 250ml of crude oil, 3 litres of water and up to 330 grams of carbon dioxide emissions (depending on how much of its content can be recycled). This can be equal to driving your car for 3 to 4 kilometres. And at 1 billion ton of water consumed globally, the numbers quickly become very scary. 


Secondly, recycling facilities are not always available and as a result, the rates of recycling are still extremely low. However, even where they are available, did you know that a PET bottle can only be recycled two or three times until it can no longer be used? This is because every time plastic is recycled, the polymer chain grows shorter, so its quality decreases. What is more, additional virgin material is needed with every recycling stage in order to upgrade its quality. 


Thirdly, once disposed of, it takes at least 450 years for a plastic bottle to completely degrade in a landfill. In a worse scenario, if disposed of incorrectly and the PET bottle reaches our oceans, the sun’s radiation, ocean waves and salt can easily breakdown the bottle into secondary microplastics; Waterborne chemicals from industry and agriculture tend to stick to these microplastics, making them toxic when consumed by marine animals. Microplastics have been repeatedly detected in marine organisms and commercial seafood. 


All in all, standard plastic bottles are harmful to life both below and above water, and it is high time to find alternatives to a problem that is highly prevalent. This is why we have been exploring alternatives to plastic drinking water bottles, that are both ROI- and planet-friendly. Eventually, we circled back to the humble tap water. Did you know bottled water requires up to 2,000 times the energy used to produce tap water?


Within this initiative, we will be researching alternatives to plastic drinking water bottle challenge that we have onboard ships and bring to the industry several solutions to reduce the amount of plastic we put out there. Join us for our regular webinars on the topic, where experienced professionals will share their solutions, and ask away or contribute with your own experience. And once we share all our solutions with the world, why not commit officially to making this change within your organisation and report periodically on your progress?

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