The Mineral Water Problem
Since the opening of our seminar house we face the problem that many guest groups want to drink mineral water with carbonic acid.
Most of the groups arrive without cars and so they can not transport many drinks crates to the seminar house. In addition, there are only few storage capacities and there is no elevator to transport the drinks conviniently. Often many bottles are left after the departure of the group, which we have to bring to the supermarkets or dispose.
In our water partnership we came to know that the Berlin tab water has an excellent drinking water quality and there is no reason not to drink it, the more so as it is directly and conviniently available for a good price. Yet it is not carbonated.
Therefore we procured initially a home carbonation system from the producer „Soda Club“. But now several problems occurred, which made the usage difficult and unsatisfying:
Special expensive water bottles are needed for the carbonation.
- It is difficult to guarantee the bottles are hygienically.
- The CO 2 -cylinder of the carbonation machine only last for a small amount of water (ca. 40l)
- The price for the CO 2 -cylinder is relatively high with 7-8€ per piece.
- All available low-priced home carbonation systems are offered by the Isreali enterprise „Sodastream“ that is controlles the market with over 70% of the produced home carbonation systems. The company was in the focus of critics because they had produced in the occupied Palestinian territories, but they closed down the factory in 2016 and 500 palestianian employees lost their jobs because of the boycott-campaign*.
Our research revealed that for the public use of carbonation systems professional providers mostly rent their gadgets and close a contract for maintenance, amounting 80-100 € per month. In addition they offer complex buying systemswhich often cost more than 1.000 €.
In our research we found the very interesting system of the south-german company Aqua-Land. On the website of the company two simple, genious and reasonably priced carbonation system are offered.
- The system works both with the home carbonation CO 2-cylinders and the much cheaper CO 2 returnable bottles.
- For the system common PET mineral water bottles are used.
- The system is very hygienic because the water is not in contact with the gadget.
- The special caps for the bottles can be cleaned in the dishwasher and can be replaced cheaply.
Simple and flexible – the System of Aqua land
A simple system, here in the version for using a big CO2-bottle. The water bottle is a standard PET returnable bottle. (1 or 1,5 liter). The system costs 379 € (2019) in the standard version (with connection to the small CO2-cylinders from the supermarket) and 479€ in the version with connection to the big gas bottle.
Ecological Consequences of Mineral Water Transport
The ecological costs of mineral water transport depend on comsumer ́s behaviour. Both the choice of the place of production and the type of the bottle are important. Those who buy water of the benchmark „Spreequell“ or „Bad Liebenwerda“, get the water from the 150 km apart south Brandenburg (Bad Liebenwerda). The bottle boxes are transported by trucks.
The average consumption of mineral water per person in Germany was 140,2 litres in the year 2013. Returnable bottles are the most ecological way of package as a study of the national environmental office shows. It saves more than 50% of the material and 40% of the greenhouse-gas CO2 in comparison to the one-way bottle. According to a study** of the company Gerolsteiner the water consumption in the production of PET returnable bottles is only 1/3 of the water consumption of glass returnable bottles. Per consumer of Bad Liebenwerdaer mineral water in Berlin 2,43 kg CO2-emission are caused by the transport of the water to the supermarket.
When the water is transported from the supermarket to the households, the whole transport is nearly tripled. When water is bought in glass bottles, the CO2 emission from the transport to the supermarket are doubled.
And if you buy for example „St. Leonhards Wasser“ from Chiemgau, which is offered in Organic-markets, it extends the transport way and the emissions again by the factor 4,5. Thereby the overall emissions of the transports are 9 times higher as with the Spreequell-water.
A swiss study, which compared the ecological impacts of tap water with different mineral waters in the year 2006, came to the conclusion that from one liter of daily consume on the overall ecological strains and also the costs are less when you use tap water. The greenhouse-gas emission of tap water are only 20% compared to mineral water.***
** Source: „Ökobilanz für die leichte PET-Mehrwegflasche“, Prognos&IFEU Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung GmbH, 03/1999
*** see: gwa, 3/2006: „Vergleich der Umweltbelastungen von Hahnenwasser und Mineralwasser“ on www.infrawatt.ch