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The Carbon Footprint of a Bottle of Water

Water is a necessity for life. We all need more water, which is why many of us like to keep a bottle handy. That said, eliminating or reducing the use of bottled water is imperative to the planet's survival. Which is why reusable, sustainable, stainless steel alternatives are the best alternative. 

Rippl bottles can help you reduce your carbon footprint, your personal waste, and your water consumption; they’re the safer, less expensive option. At Rippl we understand as a company that we have a responsibility to look after the planet, and we think you should know how you can too. 

We’ve all been there. You’re in a rush, you’ve forgotten your reusable bottle at home, and you need a sip of water. So you pick up bottled water at the shop, it’s just one bottle, what's the harm? This blog will take you through the wider environmental implications of single use plastic, explaining why when purchasing bottles of water we all should think twice. 

Plastic Resin 

There’s more to a plastic water bottle than meets the eye. The carbon footprint of a single bottle is comprised of both the environmental impact of processing plastics resins and transporting plastic bottles, which is equal to 82.3 grams of carbon dioxide. Plastic bottles are produced by ‘cracking’ and refining fossil fuels, the gas or oil is broken and re-forged into a plastic resin. 

Plastic production on average creates 1.15 grams of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions per gram of plastic resin. Once transport and other emissions such as cleaning, filling, packaging etc. are accounted for this rises to 3.3 grams. With the production of single use plastic steadily increasing, from 2 million tonnes in 1950 to 359 million tonnes in 2019, this is set to reach 34,000 million tonnes by 2050. 

Of these amounts, on average only 9% is recycled. Most plastic water bottles are sold in PET bottles, which too are recyclable yet only 15% of 500 billion water bottles used each year make it to a recycling plant.


Transportation energy expenditures can represent as much as 29% of a plastic bottle’s carbon footprint. This is due to the long distances the oil and gas needed for production are required to travel, and the fact that over 40% of bottles are transported to other countries for recycling.

In real-world terms it’s estimated that the greenhouse gas emitted in manufacturing four plastic bottles is equivalent to that of travelling one mile in medium-sized petrol car. 22% of water sold in the UK is also sourced from overseas, so when choosing between bottled water and tap water it’s good to always consider the water miles. 


So what can we do about it? The first port of call should be to source alternative packaging. Did you know plastic water bottles take 450 years to biodegrade? Proper recycling can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30-70%. The use of biodegradable plastic, which can undergo normal thermal decomposition into different compounds, can go a long way to combating the problem. 

Similarly, Making lighter bottles, reducing transportation costs and opting for more eco-friendly modes of transport could help tackle the issue. The use of alternative materials like cotton and stainless steel, have already been hugely beneficial due to their long-term reusability and innocuous nature. 

This is why we at Rippl opted for stainless steel in the production of our Rippl bottles, we wanted a design that was both high quality and good for the environment. The premium stainless steel, and double wall vacuum technology keeps your cold drinks ice cold for 24 hours and your hot drinks hot up to 12 hours. So all you have to do is fill up and go!

Switch to a Rippl Bottle today to help protect the environment and keep plastic out of our oceans. 15% of all profits go to Water & Ocean charities worldwide, by joining the rippl movement you are contributing to positive change.