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disposable bottles

Climate-friendly and sustainable alternatives to disposable bottles

Although it is now well known that the ecological balance of one-way bottles is very poor compared to reusable bottles, according to the German Nature Conservation Union (NABU), the proportion of beverages sold in one-way bottles has almost doubled since 1991.

Surprisingly, the quota of reusable bottles has drastically decreased since the government made a declaration of intent to increase sustainability. In the area of ​​soft drinks without alcohol, only about 22 percent of the bottles are filled in returnable bottles. The balance is even worse for beverages that do not have a reusable system. These include mainly juices, milk drinks and wine.

Since, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the reusable rate in Germany has recently slipped to just 41 percent, environmental organizations are calling on beverage manufacturers to increasingly use so-called "pool systems" when collecting returnable bottles. Individually handled deposit return is inefficient and even harms the reusable system.

Dispose of disposable bottles or why disposable bottles without a deposit are not sustainable

By far the best-selling non-returnable bottle is the PET bottle, which is mainly filled with soft drinks such as lemonades, mineral water and spritzers. One-way bottle recycling usually takes place via the yellow bins.

The fact that the environmental balance of one-way bottles is so bad is primarily due to the widespread use of PET bottles without a one-way deposit, of which only a tiny fraction is recycled. Because compared to reusable PET bottles collected according to type, the recycling effort is so high that recycling is not worthwhile. This is why such non-returnable PET bottles usually end up in the waste incineration plant.

The one-way bottle with a deposit does better in terms of the climate balance

PET bottles with a deposit that do not go into the returnable cycle are pressed into larger packages by return machines, from which recycling companies ideally produce new single-use PET bottles. This happens with about a third of the beverage bottles. In addition, packaging for food or polyester fibers is made from recycled disposable PET bottles. In this way, the one-way bottle deposit makes a small contribution to the recycling of raw materials.

Why even a recycled disposable bottle is problematic for the environment

Around 450,000 tons of plastic waste are generated in Germany each year from PET bottles. A quarter of this is processed back into bottles, 22 percent are made into various plastic films and around 23 percent are made into plastic fibers.

As the leading expert for textile process engineering from Reutlingen University, Kai Nebel, criticizes, many products made of PET are "simply unnecessary". The scientist explained to the well-known WDR magazine "Quarks" that if components from recycled PET were to get into nature uncontrolled, this would be very harmful for certain ecosystems. The smallest particles could therefore be released from PET products processed into textiles and thus enter the water cycle unhindered.

What is the difference between returnable and disposable bottles?

The difference between a returnable PET bottle and a non-returnable bottle made from the same material is that a returnable PET bottle can be refilled up to 25 times. Glass bottles can even be refilled up to fifty times. Reusable PET bottles are marked “Reusable” either on the bottle itself or on the label. The deposit is usually 15 cents and is returned to the customer by the retailer.

Non-returnable PET bottles can be sold with or without a deposit. However, these bottles will not be refilled, regardless of whether they were sold with or without a deposit. Since 2019, however, manufacturers have been obliged to clearly mark whether or not a beverage packaging is a reusable container. The uniform symbol for one-way bottles is the blue arrow pointing to the left next to the can and bottle. The most common signs found on reusable bottles are the reusable logo or the Blue Angel. Unfortunately, not every reusable bottle has the same symbol, so the plastic packaging in particular can cause confusion again and again.
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  • Climate-friendly and sustainable alternatives to Wisefood's disposable bottles

    Our sustainable and climate-friendly products from can remedy this confusion of different reusable systems. With our innovative products, we have completely adapted to the changing needs of the environmentally conscious generation of consumers. After all, why should enjoying a soft drink be associated with a guilty conscience?

    Our climate-neutral stainless steel bottle is ideal for taking away a wide variety of drinks that are normally filled in disposable bottles. Whether mineral water, juices or spritzers: the Wiseware stainless steel bottle is a real alternative to conventional plastic bottles. In this way, you can determine the content yourself and there is no need to search for return options for the deposit.

    In addition, our reusable cups for cold and hot drinks offer an ideal alternative to standard paper cups for the popular "to-go" drink.

    The most frequently asked questions and answers about disposable bottles

    1. Are disposable glass bottles more climate-friendly than plastic bottles?
    Glass is not an environmentally friendly alternative. Because non-returnable glass bottles, which belong in the old glass container, are recycled more often. If you want to live in an environmentally friendly and climate-conscious way, you should still refrain from using disposable glass bottles, as the energy requirement for recycling glass is extremely high.

    2. Are returnable bottles disposable or reusable?
    The website of the Ministry of the Environment makes it very clear that returnable bottles are not synonymous with returnable bottles. Because the packaging ordinance stipulates that a deposit must be paid on those one-way bottles in Germany that are considered to be ecologically problematic. It should also be noted that even returnable bottles in returnable crates are not necessarily returnable bottles. Reusable bottles can only be clearly identified by the reusable symbol.

    3. Why reduce the use of PET bottles?
    Harvard University states an average consumption of 2.5 million plastic bottles per hour for the USA. Each individual bottle takes about 450 years to fully decompose. Furthermore, the production of a single plastic bottle consumes 250 ml of petroleum. These numbers illustrate an unnecessary waste of finite resources.

    4. Can I protect the climate by not using single-use bottles?
    According to the German Environmental Aid, around 21 billion liters of soft drinks are consumed in Germany every year. If these quantities were only filled in returnable bottles, carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced by 1.25 million tons compared to the current situation. The answer to the question of whether you can protect the climate by doing without disposable bottles is clearly yes!

    5. Health risks of disposable plastic bottles
    According to a report by the BBC, the WHO announced that it intends to carry out a study on the health risks of disposable PET bottles, although PET bottles are generally not considered to be hazardous to health. Speaking to the British media, the UN water coordinator expressed his concerns about the chemical composition of some water bottles. Above all, the long-term effects of microplastics on the human organism have not yet been adequately researched. Only recently did researchers succeed in proving that the smallest titanium oxide particles can penetrate the intestinal mucosa. According to scientists, the question now arises as to whether this could also be the case with microplastics.

    6. How to avoid plastic bottles? Wisefood solutions
    The magazine Ökotest last checked the quality of tap water in Germany in 2019 and confirmed compliance with the strict drinking water ordinance in all samples. According to the Ökotest, the responsible health authorities also regularly check the quality of the tap water. They came to the conclusion that more than 99 percent of all measured values ​​met the requirements and sometimes even exceeded them.

    Our climate-neutral Wiseware stainless steel bottle is an ideal replacement for conventional PET bottles. Can be filled with any soft drink as you like, and can be wonderfully combined with your own tap water. Our sustainable reusable cups with and without lids are suitable for coffee to go.

    Together with our customers, we work to make climate-friendly alternatives more conscious in order to preserve the environment and protect the earth from harmful waste in the long term.

    Sources SCHONUNG/einzelhandel-und-umwelt/mehrweg/nabumehrwegguide.html Economy/waste-types-waste-streams/packaging-waste/deposit-bottle-reusable-bottle Flaschen-Das-sind-die-Gruende_11316_1.html
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