Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water recently cemented its commitment to environmental conservation when the company announced that beginning next year it will be packaging its premium water in degradable bottles. The founder of the company, Ryan Emmons, affirmed that the change was made possible by approaching polymers innovatively. Even before Waiakea Water adopts the game-changing bottles next year, the company is currently using premium RPET bottles which are not only more expensive than standard RPET but also less damaging to the environment.
Although the talk about biodegradable and degradable bottles has been around for some time, the use of traditional plastic is at an all-time high. Also, the efforts of research firms that have been focusing on making plastics bio-degradable, so far, have been futile. However, Waiakea Hawaiian found a way of making plastics degradable (instead of biodegradable) using a compound that facilitates nano-degradation of plastics. The compound, manufactured by Timeplast Company, is the first and only patented additive for nano-degradation of plastics in the US. According to Emmons, the additive reduces the lifespan of plastics to 15 years, down from 1,500 years.
Emmons stresses that achieving degradable bottles was an uphill task for Waiakea. He says that the company took over five years and performed above 1,200 experiments to come up with a “perfect” degradable bottle with commercial qualities similar to those inherent in traditional plastics. Even after achieving the desired product, Waiakea had the challenge of acquiring a patent from the U.S Patent and Trademark Office.
Waiakea’s innovative packaging is likely to change the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. Emmons notes that companies in the CPG sector can afford the additive as it costs almost the same as the basic colorant of plastics. Also, a single pound of the additive can improve the degradability of over a thousand pounds of plastic.
Waiakea came to life in 2012 with a business model that resonates well with modern consumers; the company provides natural and healthy water sustainably as it takes an active role in social responsibilities, and of course, conserve the environment. The company’s approach to business has earned it numerous awards and recognition.