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Rick Lingle, Senior Technical Editor

June 23, 2020

4 Min Read
World's First Bottled Water Launched with 100% Certified Ocean-Bound Plastic

The world's first premium 100% recycled PET (rPET) bottled water made with certified ocean-bound plastic, vapor-distilled, high-alkaline 9.5pH water ZenWTR, officially launched June 11 at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide in the US 16.9oz, 23.7oz, and 1-Liter sizes.

Founded by veteran beverage entrepreneur, Lance Collins, ZenWTR is on a mission to help reduce the amount of plastic polluting the world’s marine environments. Using up to five ocean-rescued plastic bottles to produce every 1L bottle of ZenWTR, the company will rescue up to 70 million plastic water bottles from the ocean in 2020.

UPDATE 10/14/20: The brand is on a mission to rescue 50 million pounds of ocean-bound plastic by 2025.

“We’ve created a water bottle that is made from 100% recycled plastic, rescued from reaching marine environments and 100% infinitely recyclable,” says Collins. “Consumers are thirsty for change. At ZenWTR, our mission is to help restore our oceans, and we’re doing that by reusing the vast amount of plastic that already exists, all while committing 1% of sales to charities and organizations working to clean up our oceans.”

Zen Wtr bottle

The launch follows more than three years of development spent securing a supply chain able to produce packaging made from certified ocean-rescued plastic that doesn’t sacrifice premium quality. The wide mouth proprietary bottles are filled in Southern California.

Project involved CarbonLITE and APR.

Collins summarizes the process and key partners for PlasticsToday. “We spent this time securing a supply chain that is able to produce a 100% recyclable package including our shrink sleeve label and closure. The entire package can easily be recycled as a complete unit; after you’ve enjoyed our delicious water, simply toss the bottle into conventional recycling bins. Our partnership with CarbonLITE, the largest producer of food-grade post-consumer PET — rPET — in the world, allows us to recover and process bottles from coastal environments and turn them back into food-great rPET resin which we use to manufacture ZenWTR bottles. Our PET shrink sleeve label is 100% recyclable and recognized by the APR, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, to meet or exceed with critical recycling standards for PET film with washable inks. Lastly, our 100% recyclable HDPE closure, produced a leading global manufacturer of plastic food and beverage closures allows for easily recycling.”

Fuller disclosure.

Collins also provides details regarding ocean plastic certification.

“The post-consumer recycled ocean-bound plastic bottles used by ZenWTR are certified by Ocean Cycle, an independent organization that confirms the source of our recycled plastic supply and the standards under which it was sourced,” he tells PlasticsToday. “Because plastic collected from the ocean cannot be recycled anew into food-grade plastic, we focus on the most effective way to tackle marine plastic, which is to prevent it from reaching the ocean in the first place. By sourcing plastic bottles for recycling that are “Ocean-Bound” from coastlines and major waterways in close proximity to the ocean, we are preventing them from making it to the ocean where the likelihood of recovering them is very slim.”

On-package information is a crucial element for consumer education.

“We are so proud of this incredible and unique bottle that we’ve created and for the consumer education that goes along with that, which we gladly include on the back of our bottle,” Collins tells PlasticsToday. “We share that our bottles are made from 100% recycled, certified ocean-bound plastic and that up to 5 bottles are rescued from coastal environments to make just one of our 1L bottles. We also share that our bottles are 100% recyclable and that we are giving back 1% of ZenWTR sales to cleaning up marine environments.”

PlasticsToday asked Collins what he learned these past months.

“We discovered there is a great opportunity for companies to play their part in cleaning up coastal environments and our hope is that additional companies begin to use recycled plastic for production as well,” he responds. “We feel that there’s plenty of plastic available to recycle and we should all work to reuse what’s already there.”

Retailer buy-in and support.

The retailer sees the product’s proposition as one that parallels its own eco-centered philosophy.

“Curating an ever-evolving assortment while expanding our sustainable product offerings and mission-based brands is top of mind at Whole Foods Market,” says George Daines, global beverage category merchant. “We are eager to kick-off this exclusive partnership with ZenWTR, giving our customers a product that aims to reduce the amount of plastics in our oceans.”

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Whole Foods Market,” adds Collins. “ZenWTR meets the growing needs of eco-conscious consumers who shop at Whole Foods Market and are looking for clean, functional products that are good for themselves and do something good for our planet.”

The Whole Foods Market pricing for the products are the 1 liter at $2.29, 23.7oz at $1.79, and 16.9oz at $1.49.

The retailer will also exclusively launch ZenWTR’s new 1.5-liter package in October.

About the Author(s)

Rick Lingle

Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday

Rick Lingle is Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree from Clarke College and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-481-1426.

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