Harrogate Water has said a proposed ban by a government department on natural source water in PET bottles is misguided and contrary to the Government’s positivity in recent waste proposals that PET bottles are 100 per cent recyclable.
The company wrote to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, Sir Richard Heaton, to challenge the portrayal of PET bottles as ‘single use’ plastic and to offer practical advice to help deliver a sustainable recycling strategy in Ministry workplaces across the UK.
The letter pointed out that PET is not ‘single use’ as it can be used again and again and is one of the easiest and most efficient materials to recycle, as well as being more environmentally friendly than cans, glass and cartons, which require more energy to produce and transport.
Harrogate Water CEO James Cain said:
Doing the right thing environmentally means we must all take account of the whole production and recycling process. It is estimated that the overall environmental cost of producing a PET bottle is nearly four and a half times less than that of aluminium, paper and glass and PET is easy to recycle again and again.
In addition to the environmental benefits, natural source water is the healthiest beverage on the shelf. Removing it as an option will result in greater consumption of sugary drinks, adding to all the health dangers of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.
We fully support healthy hydration in the workplace but natural source water should always be available alongside tap water or many people will simply replace it with an unhealthy beverage. Tap water has to be chemically treated to make it safe and for this reason many people prefer the taste and purity of natural source water, which is naturally safe to drink.
Instead of a ban on PET bottles, Harrogate Water has instead advised the Ministry to improve recycling facilities.
Mr Cain added:
If everyone is able to dispose of their plastic bottles in a recycling bin this would lead to an immediate reduction in waste and an increase in recycling, moving us towards a circular economy.
We know that the term ‘single use’ can be confusing with many people believing it applies to non-recyclable packaging. There is a clear distinction between easy-to-recycle PET bottles and difficult-to-recycle plastic.
PET bottles are not ‘single-use’ as they can be recycled again and again and return as another bottle. We need more PET recycling so that we can increase the amount of recycled material in our bottles.
Harrogate Water has been zero-to-landfill for almost a decade, uses at least 50 per cent recycled content in its PET and glass bottles and campaigns with environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy to increase recycling, urging consumers to ‘Twist it. Cap it. Recycle it.’
It has welcomed the recent resources and waste strategy for England, which sets out a range of proposals, supported by Harrogate Water, including a deposit return scheme for all beverage bottles and cans and consistent recycling information on packaging.