As is known, water is vital to life. The theme of environmental sustainability, i.e., the effects of human activities on the ecosystem of the planet, includes bottling and production of mineral water, for which Italy has the world’s highest consumption rate per capita.
In the course of the last decade, bottled water producers have made massive R&D investments to reduce the impact of human activities on the environment.
Initially, their efforts focused on a reduction in the use of “traditional” plastic, i.e., PET (polyethylene terephthalate), through a percentage weight reduction and new container designs. At a more advanced stage, they began using regenerated plastic obtained from PET collection and recycling systems.
A major breakthrough was the introduction of the so-called biodegradable vegetable plastic, obtained from the fermentation of plant sugars instead of petroleum, thereby reducing the quantities of greenhouse gases, and especially CO2, released into the atmosphere.
Another major issue is the sustainability of the production plants, which is addressed by adopting more modern, more efficient and more automated systems, where the use of renewable energy sources has been gaining ground to an ever greater extent. Each stage in the process – from blow-moulding to batch stamping, from labelling to packaging into bundles – makes a contribution in terms of energy saving.
The final, truly revolutionary step toward sustainability will be achieved in terms of logistics and transportation methods. However, this is a matter to do with infrastructure, especially where rail transport is concerned, and it will have to be addressed on a national scale in the years to come.
Thanks to Acqua Sant’Anna