Sarah Paiji Yoo (@spaiji), CEO and co-founder of the eco-friendly cleaning supply company Blueland, recently took to TikTok to criticize Boxed Water for claiming to be “better.”
Boxed Water is a water brand available online and in stores. Instead of plastic bottles, it comes in cartons printed with the slogan “Boxed Water Is Better.” On its website, the company claims that it has “the most renewable package in the water aisle,” made of 92% plant-based materials. But according to Yoo, these claims are misleading.
“This is greenwashing, and I’ll tell you why,” Yoo says in her video while holding a complimentary carton of Boxed Water left in her hotel room.
“While these cartons look like paper, they’re actually a paper/plastic/aluminum blend and made of 25% plastic. And because these are a blend, it’s actually near impossible to separate these back out into their original materials.”
Unfortunately, that fact makes blended cartons extremely difficult to recycle. “About 40% of the country doesn’t offer recycling for this material,” Yoo claims.
@spaiji Greenwashing or sustainable? 😵💫 #ecotok #greenwashing #sustainability #fyp ♬ Juless Edits – Shou
This is important information for buyers trying to reduce their impact on the planet. Crates of 16.9-ounce Boxed Water sell for around $50 for 24 cartons, or more than $2 per carton. Buyers are often willing to pay extra for a carton they believe is better for the environment; if a plastic bottle is both cheaper and easier to recycle, it becomes a much more attractive option.
That’s not to say that disposable plastic is a particularly eco-friendly choice, either. While it’s easier to recycle than a blended carton, most plastic in the U.S. is simply never processed, and it may end up in landfills, on the ground as litter, or in the ocean.
In a statement to The Cool Down, a representative for Boxed Water refuted Yoo’s claim about the percentage of its packaging that contains plastic. The spokesperson told The Cool Down that Boxed Water is “92% paper-plant-based” and that it uses “less than 4% plant-sourced plastic.”
Yoo’s ultimate takeaway, however, wasn’t focused on Boxed Water itself, but rather on disposable bottles in general.
“The best option: carry a reusable water bottle when you can,” Yoo concludes in her video. A reusable bottle can be refilled for less than a penny in most locations, and you can use a single bottle for years and years before throwing it away, making it the most affordable and the most eco-friendly choice.
“Everyone needs to know this!” one user commented on the video.
“It shouldn’t be the responsibility of the public to keep informed of all the differences,” wrote another. “Go after the company via laws.”
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