Why Can’t Water Be Sold in Biodegradable Bottles?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: October 16, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

2016 saw the selling of 480 billion plastic drinking bottles worldwide, according to market research by Euromonitor International.

Less than half went into recycling campaigns and some of these plastic bottles are in semi-biodegradable plastics. 

A great portion of these were water bottles and while biodegradable ones seem okay to use, they’re not.

Why can’t water be sold in biodegradable bottles? There are several reasons for this. 

First, it’s about presentation and appeal to consumers. 

Then, there are other issues with premature decomposition and unhealthy chemical additives. 

The good new is there are other alternatives.

Why can’t water be sold in biodegradable bottles?

While there are some water producers that do sell their products in biodegradable bottles, there are some problems. 

First, these aren’t fully biodegradable and often take many decades to break down properly. 

In the meantime, as they decompose, they release harmful gasses into the atmosphere, like methane.

Premature Decomposition

The problem with current biodegradable plastic water bottles is that they breakdown once introduced to things like heat and light, even before selling or consumption of the water. 

Also, some degradable plastics will begin to break down once the outer casing saturates with water.

This means, if some dribbled outside the bottle, it begins to weaken. 

So, it will stay stable sitting on a shelf at the store, but it quickly decomposes when coming into contact with the elements.

What’s more, biodegradable plastic bottles, especially oxo-biodegradable ones, will begin breaking down after two years, regardless of use or opening.

Consumer Appeal

Another problem is that water, the way it sells now, comes in a beautiful clear bottle. 

Most biodegradable plastics will comprise either other colors or a frosted look, which prevents consumers from seeing the contents inside. 

This is a sure sales killer.

Health Concerns

Even with biodegradable plastics, there are chemicals and other materials that aren’t necessarily healthy for people to consume. 

Making a plastic bottle without contaminants like BPAs or PETs jacks up the price, which makes the cost of bottled water expensive to purchase and produce.

These chemicals not only have the potential to be carcinogenic, but the resins can either contribute or influence diabetes, respiratory disorders, infertility and etc. 

There are several studies that have come out within the last 10 years proving these things and more. 

At the very least, they’re hormone disruptors that can cause serious issues.

Are there any alternatives to biodegradable plastic bottles for water?

Not all is dismal though. There are many companies switching to other plastic-free, earth-friendly options. 

But, like with anything in this world, there are plusses and minuses to each.


Cardboard is making a great lead in the way of non-plastic biodegradable water containers. 

It looks and feels like a milk carton as first introduced by Benjamin Gott in 2009 with Boxed Water. 

It costs less to make than plastic bottles and it decomposes within a matter of months, thereby leaving a smaller carbon footprint.

You can put it in for paper recycling, the regular trash or your compost pile. 

This makes cardboard water containers versatile while also being safer for the environment. 

The downside to this is that many companies will have some minor parts made of unrecyclable plastic.

Aside from Boxed Water, other companies that feature cardboard packaging include RainForest Artesian Water, JUST Water, Flow Alkaline Spring Water, Aqua Water and Rethink Water.


A safe and mostly non-toxic substitute for plastic water bottles is aluminum. 

It can recycle over and over again near infinitely. What’s more, the light-protection capacity of aluminum will keep water cool, even in the heat of summertime.

But, it’s not a good insulator, it dents easily and some containers line with BPA. 

Also, aluminum can leach into water which is a known contributor to disease like Alzheimer’s. 

So, you’ll have to double check to make sure.

Some brands that carry aluminum packaging for their water are Open Water, Blue Can Premium, Liquid Death, CW4K and Ever and Ever Water.

Plant-Based Materials

There are new developments and technologies geared toward using plant waste to create a toxin-free water bottle. 

These don’t use much energy to produce and come from things like trees, sugarcane or even algae. It looks just like a regular plastic bottle but it’s not crystal clear.

Companies like JUST Water and Choose Water offer their water products in plant-based materials.


Glass is an ideal material since it’s simply sand fired at an extremely high temperature. 

It’s safe and clean to drink from without risking other chemical components leaching into the water. It’s recyclable, reusable and very biodegradable.

While glass has the potential to be a wonderful ecological replacement for plastic bottles, there are some problems. 

They’re heavy, which means they’re not only expensive to ship but also inconvenient to transport for personal uses. 

Plus, they break easily, so manufacturers will often wrap them with plastic.

Saratoga Sparkling Spring Water, Acqua Panna US, Eldorado Natural Spring Water and Mountain Valley Spring Water are some companies that offer glass bottles for their packaging.

Final Thoughts

While there have been many advancements in making plastics better for the environment, there are still a lot of problems. 

Although clear plastic bottles offer a beautiful view of the water inside, recent innovations haven’t been able to produce the same appeal. 

But, there are other options that are just as safe and reliable.

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