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Message in a bottle: the retro way to reduce packaging

The Ecologist

14th March, 2011

UK consumers get through 14 million litres of bottled soft drinks every year at a significant cost to the environment. So why not try making your own?

Around 263,000 tonnes of plastic bottles are recycled every year, a figure which sounds impressive until you consider that this only accounts for 35 per cent of all bottles used, meaning the lions share – a whopping 65 per cent - is destined for landfill. But trying to combat the UK’s addiction to the fizzy stuff is proving difficult, although there are some companies doing their best to change things. For example, British bottled water company, Belu, now makes its bottles from biodegradable corn starch. Another organisation, London on Tap, is attempting to change our drinking habits altogether and promotes tap water as the environmentally friendly alternative to its bottled cousin.

But while much attention has been paid to water, few alternatives exist for other bottled drinks. Although Coca Cola and co are unlikely to ring the changes anytime soon, one retro favourite has a novel solution. Seventies icon, SodaStream, believe that more than 300,000 tonnes of plastic packaging could be saved every year by replacing traditional soft drinks with their DIY fizzy-drinks maker. ‘Packaging prevention, re-use and recycling are vital if we are to create a ‘zero-waste’ economy,’ says SodaStream UK MD, Fiona Hope. ‘SodaStream uses less packaging which gives consumers a solution that’s fun to use as well as being environmentally-friendly.’

Like the traditional version, the new SodaStream lets you make your own fizzy drinks at home using tap water and flavoured syrups. Removing the need for disposable plastic containers and lorry loads of liquids, switching to a combination of a SodaStream and tap water could help reduce carbon emissions associated with the soft drinks industry by as much as 600 tonnes per year. That’s got to be worth a try.

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