The New Environmentally-Friendly Water Fad

Thursday, October 24th, 2019


Boxed Water

You’ve probably noticed a few of the new implements to the cafeteria menu this year: larger vitamin waters, new canned drinks such as Minute Maid Lemonade and Yoo-hoos, or perhaps you've even tried the new cartoned juice. However, if you didn't catch all of them, there is one new addition that you definitely noticed, as its availability nearly sparked outrage throughout the student body: boxed water.

Its moderately-catchy slogan “boxed water is better” was quickly put to the test and eventually disagreed with by the populace of Chatham High School. Common critiques of this water are, for starters, the flavor: many complained that the water tastes like cardboard, and although you don't experience this when drinking other cartoned beverages such as orange juice and milk, it is due to the additional flavor of those specific beverages. Additionally, people do not find the carton an easy thing to drink from, and it is said that the spout of the box is an extremely displeasing aspect. The shape of the top of the carton combined with the spout itself makes it difficult to drink from, and I watched several people fold the top-part of the carton down in the opposite direction as the cap for greater ease in what should be a relatively easy experience. For research purposes, I had to try a “box” of water myself—and must say I generally agree with the common complaints students and faculty alike have with the water. Strangely, despite the widespread unpopularity of the item, for a brief period if you were looking to purchase a bottle of water from the cafeteria, boxed water was your only option. This initiative was the work of the Sustainability Club, who successfully rid the school of bottled water.


While it is too early to say if boxed water is here to stay in the cafeteria, it is safe to say that it will certainly not be the preferred choice to other water brands. However, the administration and cafeteria staff’s decision to sell the product is completely understandable, as the concept behind boxed water is part of an effort to reduce the plastic waste that has become such a problem in our society. Some of the positives in terms of the environmental impacts of boxed water are as follows. Firstly, 100% of this bottle is recyclable, and 76% is made from paper. While quite a feat, no doubt, this does not actually make the water source more sustainable than plastic, as plastic bottles are also recyclable, but often not recycled—as will most likely be the case with boxed water. The catch is that while plastic takes over 700 years to break down in a landfill, paper is very easy for the environment to break down, and the entire carton of boxed water is designed with the intention of reducing its environmental impact. Additionally, boxed water is shipped better than bottled water. The shipping process of boxed water involves shipping the empty boxes to be filled at factories located in the cities in which they arrive, which is a far more environmentally-friendly process than shipping full bottles. Clearly, boxed water offers a better alternative in the market of single-use, convenient water bottles. It is for these reasons that while the quality of your water-drinking experience may be lower (or perhaps it is just the stigma associated with it), usage of this concept is still encouraged. However, if you truly cannot come to terms with the boxed water fad, up your game with a reusable water bottle; the water tastes better than either option and the environmental impacts are lesser than both as well.