Will reusable plastic water bottles be the next big thing?

Reusable plastic water bottle

As the war on single-use plastic water bottles heats up in an effort to “purge the planet of plastic waste,” various solutions are emerging. One that is catching on is the reusable plastic water bottle. “Reusable plastic water bottles are eco-friendly and, of course, cheaper in the long run,” said Moiz Adenwala of Transparency Market Research (TMR; Albany, NY), which has published the report, Global Reusable Plastic Water Bottles Market 2017-2022. “As a result, the market seems promising,” added Adenwala.

TMR expects demand for reusable plastic water bottles to rise 4.5% CAGR over the study period. “As a result, competition is heating up [in this market],” Adenwala said. “To compete in an increasingly crowded space, players are adopting various strategies, including innovation and strategic alliances.”

Due to innovation, the global reusable plastic water bottles market is witnessing an abundance of products in all shapes, sizes and even flavors. From squeezable bike bottles to heavy-duty plastic bottles like those by Nalgene, plastic bottles offer the greatest variety and versatility for consumers, noted Adenwala. “With respect to size, bottles range from 0 to 500, 500 to 1000 and 1000 to 2000 ml. There is also a range of materials, including high-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene, polycarbonate and others.”

I would agree with Adenwala and TMR. Consumers are not going to give up the convenience and benefits of plastic water bottles any time soon. While I’ve seen people carrying around refillable metal water bottles, many more seem to be using reusable plastic water bottles typically made from polycarbonate.

Adenwala points out however that a “big hurdle for the global reusable water bottles market” is concern about the safety of BPA, which, he notes, “is often linked to cancer.”

I have to interject here that while the term “linked to” is often used in connection with BPA, more than two decades of scientific studies as well as tests on humans and animals by the FDA and other organizations have found no conclusive proof that BPA in the small amounts that might be used in polycarbonate are the actual cause of any type of disease. Resin producers are aware of this decades-long concern and, in spite of no scientific evidence linking BPA to disease, they have developed BPA-free polymers to allay consumers’ concerns.

“China and India are witnessing speedy economic growth and urbanization, leading to more and more plastic usage in the region,” notes Adenwala. Government regulations curbing plastic waste from getting into the waterways and other environments opens the door for the reusable plastic water bottles market in the region.

Reusable plastic water bottles would seem to be a better alternative than glass, particularly in certain recreation areas where glass bottles are banned, such as beaches, around swimming pools and other areas where broken glass would be a hazard. I admire the various innovative solutions that seem to be arising to meet the challenges that plastics faces globally, but we should always keep in mind the law of unintended consequences when believing one solution to be the end-all of solutions.

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