Do you remember what you were doing when you were 12? Pretty sure my biggest concern was figuring out whether it was ironic or just plain unlucky that Alanis kept finding 10 thousand spoons when all she needed was a knife.
Jaden Smith on the other hand, was concerned about the oceans, the earth and all the creatures living on it. He was going on surf trips with his parents noticing plastic waste everywhere. He was thinking about the impact plastic bottles were having on marine life and ecosystems. He began learning about plastic production and its contribution to global warming. Together with his famous dad, Will Smith, and entrepreneur Drew Fitzgerald, he started an eco-friendly spring water company to address the many problems caused by plastic water bottles. 7 years later, JUST Water is stocked across the US, UK and now, here in Australia. But what makes it so great? Are they really that good for the environment?
The short answer is YES.
The long answer is HELL YES, as long as the company keeps evolving.
Here are 10 reasons why:
- JUST Water is packaged in cartons made mostly from plants. Yes plants! 82% of the carton is either made of paper or sugarcane making it recyclable and easier to decompose. We’re talking months verses up to a thousand years for plastic bottles!
- The paper pulp used comes from certified forests. That means the trees that are cut down for these cartons are traceable and are from healthy, sustainable areas where trees are regularly replanted.
- The lids are made from sugarcane – not plastic derived from petroleum. Normally, during the production of plastic lids, carbon dioxide is released into the air which contributes to the greenhouse effect, and contributes to global warming. So by using sugarcane which naturally grows back every year, Jaden is cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
- PLUS, being a plant, the sugarcane absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Just to get an idea of how amazing this really is: producing 200 thousand tons of sugar for plastic takes away 800 thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That’s like taking away 800 thousand cars off the streets!
- A biofuel known as “bagasse” is created during the process of turning the sugarcane into lids. Bagasse is a clean, renewable energy source used to power the entire sugar production process!
- The water itself is sourced from the country it’s being sold in. Ours is from the basalt and scoria rocks deep inside Mount Warrenheip near Ballarat, Victoria.
- The cartons are transported in flat-pack rolls. They’re only folded into shape once their filled with water. What’s so good about that you may be wondering? It means they can ship 1.5 million cartons in just 1 truck, as opposed to 13 trucks if the cartons were pre-filled. Fewer trucks means less pollution and wasting less energy.
- We already know they’re recyclable cartons but they’re also reusable. The neck of each carton is purposely made wider than the standard water bottle so it’s easier to refill! (Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?)
- There’s a spot on the carton where you can write your name! This has to be one of my favourite features because it not only encourages re-use but also, NO MORE STEALING MY DRINK PEOPLE!
- Jaden acknowledges there’s room for improvement. With 82% of the carton made from paper and sugarcane that leaves 18% still unaccounted for. So what’s it made of? 3% aluminium and 15% protective plastic film. Can this be improved so that one day the cartons could be 100% plant-based? Well it definitely sounds like Jaden and his team are striving to achieve this. “Ours isn’t a perfect solution – yet” it says on the Just Water website, “but it’s a step in the right direction.”
It certainly is. According to Planet Ark, right now in Australia, we’re producing 1 tonne of plastic waste every minute! And the plastic recycling rate is only 11.8%. So if we can take plastic out of the equation as much as we can, then we’re making progress.
Tell us below, do you think there are ways Jaden could improve his water cartons even more?