Opened to both suppliers and purchasers who want to have a say in the copious amounts of single-use plastic drinking water bottles delivered to the world's fleet, this work stream aims to improve awareness of the right sustainable alternatives, incentivise industry peers to commit and stay accountable, and reduce plastic pollution.
The real issue with single-use plastic bottles
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.
"Just picture a bridge five feet wide made of plastic drinking water bottles; our industry’s annual consumption would reach all the way to the moon. If that’s not enough, then consider the impact on the environment of the delivery of the bottles, the packaging and the CO2."
Environmental agencies and consultancies worldwide have long declared a war on plastic, and the reasons for this are well known to everyone.
What purchasers can do
With many of the existing alternatives providing a timely and efficient return on investment, there is little excuse and a lot of good reasons to make the switch today.
- Switching to a water filtration system is a quick and easy way to kick plastic onboard vessels
Assuming vessels have functioning Reverse Osmosis systems or Evaporators onboard, all that needs to be done to replace plastic water bottles is to invest in a filtration system that makes the water drinkable. You can go all in and purchase the equipment, or you may consider a ‘water-as-a-service’ model. The choice is yours.
- A new system offers an ROI that is less than a year’s spend. Really, it costs money not to save the planet!
Outside the obvious sustainability ROI, the actual cost ROI can be surprisingly rewarding. Our own research at SAVE shows that every year, at least USD 8,000 is paid for the purchase, delivery, wharfage, and disposal of plastic water bottles for each vessel. A tested filtration system onboard, on the other hand, can cost as little as USD 3,000 with plug-and-play installation. There are many solution providers out there, and we even have a directory for some of the solutions that are backed by our community of pledgers.
- Initial investment is not an issue, but crew culture is? Our community can help!
We know it is difficult to implement change onboard; there will be people reluctant to change and adamant to stick to the old ways of doing things. Fortunately, our SAVE community grows larger by the minute, and existing pledgers have already shared ideas and resources that can help people onboard change their mind.
- We know changing the status quo takes time, so 2025 is our ambitious deadline for seeing a reduction!
This is a work in progress and we do not expect it to be done overnight. For some companies, it will take months. For most, however, it will take years. No matter how long your journey turns out to be, we will be here to support you.
What suppliers can do
- Reducing annual supply of single-use plastic drinking water bottles and replacing these with more sustainable alternatives.
We understand that, where customers ask for something specific, a supplier's first instinct will be to deliver. After all, customer satisfaction is paramount in this business. However, as a supplier, you play a key role in moving the needle on environmental action, simply by virtue of the products you choose to supply. By finding planet-friendlier alternatives to the single-use plastic drinking water bottles and pushing these to your customers, you will be contributing to our all-important scope and reduce the amount of plastic that goes out at sea.