Bottled Water Reporter (January/February 2021)

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The Evolution of Advocacy









IN THIS ISSUE The rPET and Why Increase rHDPE Supply Access to Issue Recycling

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Also Inside:

IBWA Honors Industry Professionals How to Be a Recycling Influencer


VOL. 61 • NO. 1


20 | The Evolution of Advocacy Meeting with members of Congress is easier than ever before—thanks to the virtual meeting. COMMUNICATIONS

22 | Why Advocate for Increased Access to Recycling To increase recycling rates, the U.S. recycling infrastructure needs to significantly change. TECHNICAL UPDATE

24 | How Low Recycling Rates Impact Industry's Use of rPET and rHDPE Supply is the biggest barrier for most rPET content scenarios. More research is needed to understand the obstacles to meeting rHDPE demand. BY THE NUMBERS

28 | The Roundup Highlighting interesting bottled water industry figures.

TABLE OF CONTENTS 10 | Healthy Hydration and the Psychology of Desire Esther Papies, PhD, and her team of researchers at the Healthy Cognition Lab, an integral part of the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow, are studying nonconscious mechanisms that influence behavior, like why people drink water. The findings shared here could influence your communications and marketing strategies for 2021. By Christine Umbrell

COVER ART: The word cloud depicted on the cover is based on a word cloud of dehydration-related words referenced in the 2020 study by Amy Rodger, Lara Wehbe, and Esther Papies on motivational processes that affect water drinking (

CHAIRMAN'S COMMENTARY ...............................2 PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE ......................................4 WATER NOTES ....................................................6 CPO QUIZ .........................................................26 ADVERTISERS ...................................................27 CALENDAR .......................................................27



16 | Why You Need to Drink More Water in Winter Most people think dehydration is just a hot-weather issue, but the cold, dry air of winter can really impact hydration levels. Here’s what your customers need to know to encourage them to drink more water. By Jill Culora

18 | Don’t Waste a Valuable Resource Does your company plan to use more rPET and rHDPE in its containers? If so, you need to start educating consumers on the importance of recycling now to help ensure the supply is enough to meet the future demand. By Jill Culora

BOTTLED WATER REPORTER, Volume 61, Number 1. Published six times a year by The Goetz Printing Company, 7939 Angus Court, Springfield, VA, 22153, for the International Bottled Water Association, 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 650, Alexandria, VA 22314-2973. Tel: 703.683.5213, Fax: 703.683.4074, Subscription rate for members is $25 per year, which is included in the dues. U.S. and Canadian subscription rate to nonmembers is $50 per year. International subscription rate is $100 per year. Single copies are $7. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Bottled Water Reporter, 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 650, Alexandria, VA 22314-2973.


Happy New Year IBWA and what an honor it is for me to lead our organization in 2021. I am looking forward to meeting many of you in person as soon as we are able and listening to your ideas on how we can move IBWA forward in support of our great industry. Looking ahead, it’s clear there is no business as usual. The world around us is in a time of change and challenge— and it’s up to us to take action, especially to help eliminate discrimination in hydration. Let me explain: In America today, too many children aren’t drinking enough water. Dr. Janine Rethy of the American Academy of Pediatrics recently shared this alarming statistic that 75% of kids ages 4 to 8 and 85% of those 9 to 13 are not meeting the daily required. Instead, children are opting for sugary beverages. Lack of hydration has alarming consequences, especially childhood obesity. Leslie Boggs, president of the National PTA, told me that teachers see immediate effects of hydration issues in the classroom. A decline of even 2% of the daily water need results in visible changes for a child, including compromised cognitive and physical performance, trouble concentrating, increased hyperactivity, and agitation. Yet, health inequity is the most concerning part of this problem. A study by the Water, Health, and Nutrition Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University found that across race/ ethnicity there are significant differences in caloric intake between those who drink no water versus those who drink any water, as shown in the results for non-Hispanic black (218.1 vs 124.9 kcal) and Hispanic (176.1 vs 115.3 kcal) participants ( As we have seen during COVID, serious health disparities exist for African American and Hispanic adults, particularly diabetes and hypertension, both correlated with obesity, and there are many contributing factors, including food deserts. This discrimination starts during childhood and is nothing short of a health justice issue. As Dr. Rethy explains, “We need to work together to decrease health disparities in our communities. And it all comes down to three very crucial issues: nutrition, physical activity, and beverage consumption.” Sadly, hydration often is not part of the conversation about our kids’ health, but it must be. IBWA and the bottled water industry are uniquely positioned to address this societal problem head-on. We have the ability to increase health equity. We have the ability to build on our strong and robust membership, grow our network of allies, and take action. We can start by increasing our multi-cultural marketing, so minority youth see themselves in our category and select water as their first choice in beverages. In the year ahead, let’s recommit ourselves to encouraging healthy hydration habits to communities and families alike. Let’s accelerate education on the importance of drinking water. And let’s focus especially on minority communities. By working together this year to address discrimination in hydration, IBWA will be on the frontline of life-altering change.



International Bottled Water Association OFFICERS Chair Tara Carraro, Nestlé Waters North America Vice Chair C.R. Hall, Hall's Culligan Treasurer Brian Hess, Niagara Bottling LLC Immediate Past Chairman Robert Smith, Grand Springs Distribution

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Shayron Barnes-Selby, Primo Water North America Joe Bell, Aqua Filter Fresh, Inc. Philippe Caradec, Danone Waters of America Tara Carraro, Nestlé Waters North America C.R. Hall, Hall's Culligan Brian Hess, Niagara Bottling LLC Doug Hidding, Blackhawk Molding Co. Dan Kelly, Polymer Solutions International Kari Mondt, Allied Purchasing Greg Nemec, Premium Waters, Inc. Jillian Olsen, Cherry Ridge Consulting LLC David Redick, Steelhead, Inc. Robert Smith, Grand Springs Distribution Lynn Wachtmann, Maumee Valley Bottlers, Inc. William Patrick Young, Absopure Water Co., Inc.

IBWA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Chair Tara Carraro, Nestlé Waters North America Joe Bell, Aqua Filter Fresh, Inc. Philippe Caradec, Danone Waters of America Tara Carraro, Nestlé Waters North America C.R. Hall, Hall’s Culligan Brian Hess, Niagara Bottling LLC Henry R. Hidell, III, Hidell International Dan Kelly, Polymer Solutions International Dave Muscato, Primo Water North America Robert Smith, Grand Springs Distribution William Patrick Young, Absopure Water Co., Inc. Lynn Wachtmann, Maumee Valley Bottlers, Inc.

COMMITTEE CHAIRS Communications Committee Julia Buchanan, Niagara Bottling, LLC Maureen Hendrix, Primo Water North America Education Committee Glen Davis, Absopure Water Co., Inc. Douglas R. Hupe, Aqua Filter Fresh Environmental Sustainability Committee John Cook, Niagara Bottling LLC Martie Curran, Nestlé Waters North America Government Relations Committee Viola Johnson Jacobs, Primo Water North America Derieth Sutton, Niagara Bottling LLC. Membership Committee Marge Eggie, Polymer Solutions International Kelley Goshay, Primo Water North America State and Regional Associations Committee Jillian Olsen, Cherry Ridge Consulting LLC Supplier and Convention Committee Joe Bell, Aqua Filter Fresh, Inc. Dan Kelly, Polymer Solutions International Technical Committee Glen Davis, Absopure Water Co., Inc. Ryan Schwaner, Niagara Bottling, LLC


The Drinking Water Research Foundation (DWRF) would like to thank all of the sponsors that helped make its Virtual OfďŹ ce Olympics Fundraiser a success. This event, held virtually and hosted by Team Building on November 9, 2020, could not have happened without the support of DWRF sponsors and guests. All money raised during the 2020 fundraiser will help fund vital research impacting the future of the bottled water industry.



Traditionally, the New Year is embraced as a time to make a fresh start—and I think most of us are really looking forward to 2021.


International Bottled Water Association BOTTLED WATER REPORTER is published for: International Bottled Water Association 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 650 Alexandria, VA 22314-2973. Tel: 703.683.5213 Fax: 703.683.4074


For a lot of people, that fresh start is marked by making New Year’s resolutions—and “drink more water” is often at the top of the list. That’s one reason why IBWA’s Bottled Water Reporter (BWR) magazine kicks off the year with a focus on healthy hydration. This issue’s cover story, “Healthy Hydration and the Psychology of Desire” (p.10), introduces readers to Esther Papies, PhD, and the research her team is conducting on the nonconscious mechanisms that influence behavior, like why people drink water. Working out of the Healthy Cognition Lab, an integral part of the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow, researchers have made discoveries that can help bottled water companies not only understand how consumers choose to drink water but also how to better market our healthy hydration products.

President Joe Doss

Interestingly, Dr. Papies suggests helping consumers develop better drinking habits by sharing information on your website that encourages people to drink more water. To that end, this issue of BWR includes two articles of shareable content that we encourage you to post on your company’s website. In “Why You Need to Drink More Water in Winter” (p.16), we review how the season’s cold, dry air contributes to dehydration, and, in “Don’t Waste a Valuable Resource” (p.18), we discuss recycled PET (rPET) plastic as a commodity and encourage consumers to do their part for a circular economy by always remembering to recycle their plastic bottled water bottles. Visit to download these articles.

Director of Conventions, Trade Shows, and Meetings Michele Campbell

The recycling discussion continues in our Technical Update column (p.24), where we review the key takeaways from a study IBWA recently commissioned that analyzes the availability of food grade rPET and rHDPE in the United States. (The CliffsNotes version: If the bottled water industry is to be able to meet national post-consumer resin targets, then the recovered feedstock must significantly increase.) The Communications column (p.22) discusses the impact that expanding recycling collection services for multifamily developments and commercial customers could have on increasing recycling rates. And our Government Relations column (p.20) reviews the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the evolution of virtual advocacy—and how the changes implemented might help you establish strong relationships with your federal and state legislators. Despite the challenges of last year, IBWA was again successful at working with members to create a favorable business, legislative, public affairs, and technical climate for the bottled water industry. I’m looking forward to the year ahead and all the opportunities that are before us.

Joe Doss IBWA President


Senior Vice President of Education, Science, and Technical Relations Robert R. Hirst Vice President of Communications Jill Culora Vice President of Government Relations Cory Martin

Director of Government Relations J.P. Toner Director of Science and Research Al Lear Director of Communications Sabrina E. Hicks Manager of Member Services Cheryl Bass Communications Coordinator Chris Torres Education and Technical Programs Coordinator Linda Amar Executive Assistant Vacant Bottled Water Reporter Layout and Design Rose McLeod Tel: 315.447.4385 Editor Sabrina E. Hicks Advertising Sales Stephanie Schaefer

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Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Postponed Until June 3–6, 2021 The 31st annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, held annually in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, has been postponed until June 3-6, 2021. Registration will begin March 1, 2021. The entry deadline for candidates is May 15, 2021. Produced by Travel Berkeley Springs, this award-winning event is the largest and longest running of its kind in the world, acclaimed by media as the world's most prestigious water tasting. If you have not entered in a while, make 2021 the year your water is spotlighted in this event. Winners will receive global press coverage, the opportunity for potential water deals and new distributors, along with adding the prestigious Berkeley Springs water medal to their bottle labels like dozens of predecessors. With three decades of experience, organizers know that winning waters are guaranteed thousands of dollars in marketing benefits and exposure. The cost to enter is only $45, plus the cost of shipping waters to be tasted. Enter your water in one of these four categories: Municipal, Bottled Non-carbonated, Purified Drinking Water, and Bottled Sparkling. In addition, anyone may also enter the People's Choice Package Design. For more information, call 1.800.447.8797 or visit


• Provide municipalities with additional leverage when negotiating hauling and recycling contracts with industry that can ease contamination requirements.


IBWA Encourages EPA to Focus on Decreasing Contamination in U.S. Recycling Systems IBWA has commented on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) draft national strategic recycling strategy, recommending that EPA focus on reducing contamination, increasing consumer education on how to recycle, and increasing access to recycling systems. EPA sought comment on its draft strategy, which identifies the strategic objectives and actions needed to create a stronger, more resilient, and cost-effective U.S. municipal solid waste recycling system. EPA notes that the U.S. recycling system currently faces numerous challenges, including consumer confusion about what materials can be recycled, a recycling infrastructure that has not


kept pace with today’s diverse and changing waste stream, reduced markets for recycled materials, and varying methodologies to measure recycling system performance. Specifically, IBWA commented that a strong effort to reduce the contamination of recycled materials is essential to making any program valuable to everyone within the recycling stream. IBWA suggests that this should be one of EPA’s top priorities and provided the following recommendations: • Increase the ability for reclaimers to refuse packaging based on contamination. • Standardize quality control and increase oversight

of recycling processing to better ensure proper sorting of materials. • Provide funding (e.g., loans, tax credits, grants, etc.) to increase investments in the latest technology.

IBWA also noted that it is critically important to provide consumer education on recycling streams, arguing that identifying what packaging can be recycled and providing information about the proper disposal of packaging will help ensure that all recyclable materials are recycled and reused. IBWA also promoted increased consumer access and participation in convenient recycling options, which will help improve recycling rates in the United States. IBWA members interested in reading the association’s full comments to EPA can request a copy from IBWA Vice President of Government Relations Cory Martin:


Building on the successful attendance of the virtual 2020 IBWA Annual Business Conference, IBWA invites all members to join us for our next meeting: February 23-25 2021 IBWA Board of Directors and Committee Meetings Online meetings begin at 11:00 am on Tuesday, February 23; end 4:00 pm Thursday, February 25 All current IBWA members can attend these meetings virtually to learn about the activities the association has planned for 2021. For more information, go to



IBWA’s Recycling Rex Educates Consumers About the Importance of Recycling IBWA recently launched a new series of edutainment videos on to help educate consumers about the importance of recycling. The “Recycling Rex” videos, filmed before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, introduces consumers to IBWA’s street reporter Recycling Rex, a conservationist, talking green dinosaur who interviews students at Emory University about their recycling habits and offers tips for improvement. Research shows that millennials, the target audience of this campaign, follow their passions and invite engagement with their friends though social media channels to express who they are personally and how they would like to be known. So, IBWA is encouraging them to be known as a “recycling influencer.” IBWA is on a mission to present fun content on social media that inspires viewers to not only take action by recycling but also share our video series to help educate their friends about how the one small step of recycling can have a big impact in increasing recycling

rates, which have hovered around 30 percent for more than 10 years. The series consists of five videos, with Recycling Rex offering a new recycling tip each video—such as “Pack It Out!,” “Be Intentional About Recycling,” and “Invite Your Friends to Recycle”—to encourage viewers to take that extra step and recycle. Check out all five videos on IBWA’s channel: user/BottledWaterMatters.


Applications Now Being Accepted for $4,000 College Scholarship

The Drinking Water Research Foundation (DWRF) is currently accepting applications for the 2021 Kristin Safran College Scholarship. This opportunity will grant one high school class of 2021 student a $4,000 scholarship, to be awarded as $1,000 per year for four years. Criteria include the following: • Must be the child or grandchild of an IBWA member employee. • Must be a high school senior ranked in the top 20th percentile of their class, graduating in 2021. • Must plan to attend an accredited undergraduate two-year or fouryear college/university. (If the student attends a two-year college, he or she must plan to transfer to a four-year college). If you know of a student entering college who could potentially become DWRF’s next awardee of this scholarship, please ask them to submit an application to Linda Amar (email: / fax: 703.683.4074) any time between now and the June 30, 2021 deadline. The application can be accessed online at DWRF plans to announce the winner of the Kristin Safran College Scholarship on or about July 31, 2021. The DWRF trustees are very excited to receive scholarship entries and look forward to helping support another bright and talented student!

DWRF created the Kristin Safran College Scholarship to honor the memory of Kristin Safran, a member of the IBWA Board of Directors who was a passenger on the Continental Airlines commuter flight that crashed in Buffalo, New York, in February 2009. The first scholarship was awarded in the fall of 2010. DWRF trustees are grateful for the funds donated so far for the Kristin Safran College Scholarship, but, because the Foundation is looking to firmly establish the scholarship fund, it is asking for donations. If you are interested in making a tax-deductible gift to the DWRF Kristin Safran College Scholarship Fund, make your checks payable to the following: DWRF Kristin Safran Fund 1700 Diagonal Road Suite 650 Alexandria, Virginia 22314 Your contribution will impact future generations in the bottled water industry that Kristin loved and was dedicated to supporting. If you have any questions, please contact Linda Amar: 703.647.4612 /

JAN/FEB 2021 • BWR • 7


IBWA HONORS INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS DURING THE ASSOCIATION’S FIRST VIRTUAL CONFERENCE, IBWA RECOGNIZED BOTTLED WATER’S BEST AND BRIGHTEST The incredible work performed daily by professionals in the bottled water industry is special—and that was confirmed even more in a year like 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented our industry with challenges, but bottled water has persevered and even retained our title as America’s favorite packaged drink. For those reasons, IBWA decided that, even though the 2020 IBWA Annual Business Conference was held virtually rather than in-person, the association would continue to hold our awards ceremony on November 9 as part of the General Session to thank the outstanding and dedicated people who make this great industry thrive. IBWA's 2020 award winners are presented below.

BOTTLED WATER HALL OF FAME Andy Eaton, PhD, spent more than 40 years working at Eurofins Eaton Analytical and its predecessor MWH Laboratories—and he’s been an IBWA member for more than 20 years. His professional titles have included project manager, laboratory supervisor (inorganics), laboratory director, researcher, and technical director. Although he formally retired as vice president of Eurofins on June 30, 2020, Andy continues working with the bottled water industry with his own company, Eaton Environmental Water Quality Consulting, LLC. Andy has always been quick to provide valuable input on key water quality issues that have been important to the bottled water industry. He served on IBWA’s Technical Committee, taking on the role of co-chair in 2007. He was also involved with IBWA’s Political Action Committee and is a member of the Drinking Water Research Foundation (DWRF). In addition to his work as a member of IBWA, Andy has served as an industry expert representative for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) workgroups and various state and industry workgroups, and he was the American Water Works Association's (AWWA) representative on the Standard Methods Joint Editorial Board. Before becoming a member of the Bottled Water Hall of Fame, Andy received AWWA's George W. Fuller Award and the Charlie Carter Award from the National Environmental Monitoring Conference. 8 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

KRISTIN SAFRAN / IBWA BOARD OF DIRECTORS’ AWARD Tom Condon (Primo Water North America) has been providing the bottled water industry with valuable insight since 1977. He began his bottled water career at Hinckley and Schmitt as the corporate quality control manager, and he is currently Primo Water’s director of technical services, where he designs and troubleshoots water processing equipment, spring water source evaluations, and technical improvement of processes and controls. Tom’s been an IBWA member since the 1980s and has assisted the association with many technical issues as both a member and chair of the Technical Committee. He’s also served on several other IBWA committees and subcommittees, including the Virus/Microbial Subcommittee, Packaging Subcommittee, Audit Program Evaluation Team, Gray Areas Task Force, and the Pilot Plant Task Force. Marge Eggie has been with Polymer Solutions International, Inc. for more than 20 years, and she’s been an IBWA member for more than 10 years. As co-chair of the Membership Committee, she’s worked with staff to elevate IBWA's member recruitment program, and

WATER NOTES she was instrumental in helping the association revamp its membership database. Marge also regularly carries IBWA’s pro-bottled water messages to members of Congress by participating in the association’s Capitol Hill events. Her strong commitment to IBWA and genuine willingness to help grow the association means she is continuously looking for the next opportunity to promote the value of IBWA membership to non-members.

SHAYRON BARNES-SELBY / IBWA ADVOCACY AWARD Derieth Sutton (Niagara Bottling) is the consummate advocate—always prepared to educate community leaders and elected officials about the benefits of bottled water, as both a healthy hydration option and employer in the community. As co-chair of IBWA’s Government Relations Committee, she initiates necessary internal discussions that help the association focus our talking points with members of Congress and other legislators. Derieth often shares her insights with other IBWA members, which enables the association to develop a proactive advocacy strategy. Derieth is also an active member of IBWA’s PAC Board and State Affairs Task Force, where she routinely demonstrates a commitment to advancing the goals of the industry through her consistent willingness to advocate on its behalf at every opportunity.

PLANT MANAGER OF THE YEAR Monika Morgan (Primo Water North America) has more than 20 years of experience in the bottled water industry, and she continues to be an influential and innovative leader at Primo Water. Monika has held roles of increasing responsibility in production and quality. Since 2010, she has been the plant manager at her company’s Kent, Washington facility, and she assumed the leadership of the company’s Portland, Oregon plant in 2019. Her performance and exceptional skills as a plant manager only speak to a small part of who Monika is. What also makes Monika special is her commitment to food safety and quality—both at the manufacturing plant and in the community in which she lives.

ROUTE SALESPERSON OF THE YEAR Jon Cleaver (Primo Water North America) has held multiple positions in his 13 years at Primo Water—and he has been very successful in each. He is a team player who demonstrates the behaviors needed to be successful in this business. Part of the reason Jon is so successful is because he treats his route as if it were his own small business—and he takes full accountability for all aspects of that business. He strives to anticipate his customer’s needs and regularly exceeds their expectations. Jon takes safety seriously and has helped improve the safety culture at Primo’s Sacramento branch. He also has extremely high standards and challenges himself to improve daily—so it’s obvious why all of Jon’s teammates look up to him.

UP-AND-COMER Zain Attebery (Puritan Springs) is the first recipient of IBWA’s new Up-andComer Award, which recognizes individuals with five or less years of experience in the bottled water industry. Zain has been employed as a route salesperson for less than three years, and he’s already been promoted to route supervisor. In his first 31 months on route, Zain set up 322 new customers while managing 20 service days, with an average of 64 customers per day while driving an average of one hour to his first stop. Since his promotion, his team has finished first in two sales contests. Zain has been—and continues to be—the total package when it comes to route sales.

A TRADITION OF RECOGNIZING EXCELLENCE Since 1961, IBWA has recognized the contributions and achievements of bottled water professionals through its awards program. We know that without the dedication of our member companies and their staffs, the bottled water industry would not enjoy its past or current success. IBWA's next award season is scheduled for 2022. Start planning now to participate!

JAN/FEB 2021 • BWR • 9




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Healthy Hydration and the Psychology of Desire By Christine Umbrell



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What motivates people to choose water as their beverage of choice? What prompts consumers to purchase the products offered by bottled water companies? The answers to these questions are key to understanding the bottled water customer base—and, ultimately, driving sales. Esther Papies, PhD, is the perfect person to look to for answers. Papies is a senior lecturer at the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow, where she heads the Healthy Cognition Lab. Her research team focuses on the nonconscious mechanisms that influence behavior, focusing on health cognition. The team studies the trade-off between short-term desires and long-term health goals and the psychological processes underlying successful behavior change. Papies and her team recently delved into the psychology of desire specifically for facilitating the development of healthy hydration habits.

JAN/FEB 2021 • BWR • 11

People know that water is good for them in the long run, but that knowledge does not increase their short-term desire for water. The health benefits of drinking water are undeniable, but there is much to be learned about consumers’ water consumption, according to Papies. “I’m surprised by how little we know about why people drink water,” she says. Some recent investigations focus on why people choose other beverages over water, and why people drink so little. “From a clinical and metabolic perspective, we know why we should drink more water,” she explains. “So why do we choose sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)” instead of water in many cases? And “what creates the gap between intention and behavior that leads us to bad choices?” she asks. The findings of her team at the Healthy Cognition Lab can help bottled water companies understand their consumers’ behaviors and reconsider their communications and marketing strategies.

Understanding the Desires Behind Beverage Choice Papies’ beverage research builds upon her studies into food consumption. Research on eating behavior demonstrates that people think about attractive food in terms of what it feels like to eat that food and in terms of relevant eating 12 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

situations, and that these simulations predict desire to eat, according to Papies.1 Since consumption and reward simulations play a key role in the desire of both food and drink, food and drink “cues”—such as the actual food or drink, menu descriptions, memories of consumption, and pictures—trigger a “situated re-experience” of enjoying that food or beverage, says Papies. This phenomenon is demonstrated by studies of brain scans: When people are shown pictures of food while lying in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, the same areas in the brain are activated as when they are actually eating that food, explains Papies. “So, when you just see a picture of food, this will activate in your brain the primary taste areas and reward areas,” she says. This phenomenon shows stronger correlations for higher-calorie, more “attractive” food and beverages, compared to more “neutral” options—such as carrots and water. During experiments at Papies’ lab, her team found that research participants described features of drinks very differently when asked to discuss SSBs versus water. For sodas, subjects tended to describe the beverage in terms of consumption and reward—mentioning its color, coldness, and deliciousness; for bottled water, they tended to describe it as boring but convenient and available in bottles. But the researchers also found that consumers describe water in terms of immediate positive body consequences—bottled water, in particular, is very “thirstquenching” and “refreshing.”


To facilitate healthy drinking choices, it’s important to emphasize the immediate pleasure to be gained from consuming a healthy beverage, rather than focus on its long-term benefits, according to Papies. “You can help people create plans for change,” but you usually can’t change their actual behavior because desires get in the way, she says. Thus, creating healthy desires is more effective than creating yet more good intentions.

To facilitate healthy drinking choices, it’s important to emphasize the immediate pleasure to be gained from consuming a healthy beverage.

Ultimately, the strongest predictor of people’s beverage habits is related to their “typical” drinking habits, says Papies. “It’s mostly people’s consumption habits that predict desire of water in the moment,” she says. While people generally understand the negative long-term health consequences of consumption of sugary drinks, these long-term consequences do not predict desire: People’s representation of a drink as being high in calories or bad for your teeth does not reduce their desire to consume soda in the moment, according to Papies. Likewise, knowing that water is good for them in the long term does not increase their momentary desire for water.

from—or emphasizing the purity and healthfulness of water, notes Papies. Ads in the sugary beverage sectors, on the other hand, focus on fun images, depicting scenes of pleasure and instant rewards.

The good news for bottled water companies is that consumption and reward simulations can be shaped, triggered, and changed by context, says Papies. In separate experiments at the Healthy Cognition Lab focusing on alcoholic beverages, her team found that depicting “congruent drinking experiences” made it easier for subjects to simulate the experience of drinking—so depicting someone drinking a beer in a pub was more effective than showing just a picture of a beer, or a beer in a situation that normally doesn’t involve beer. “So, context can have an enhancing effect on consumption simulations,” according to Papies, and presenting a drink in a matching situation increases desire.

What This Means for Bottled Water Companies The study of healthy hydration can teach us a lot about our thirst and desire for beverages. But even more interesting is what all this means for bottled water companies. Below are some suggestions of how we can apply the science behind healthy hydration to boost consumption of water—and potentially increase sales. Create advertisements emphasizing short-term consequences and depicting relevant water-drinking scenarios. Remember that context plays a key role in shaping simulations and triggering habits. Many of the current advertisements for bottled water feature images of nature and rocks—depicting where the water comes

Papies suggests that bottled water companies should take a cue from the SSB advertisements and consider an approach that focuses on the pleasure and rewards that come in the moment from drinking water. “Depict images that elicit simulations—someone feeling good” and happy in the moment, she suggests. For example, an ad depicting a children’s soccer game with everyone on the sidelines drinking water could be an effective strategy for highlighting the short-term benefits of water. Be strategic when choosing language for labels. To highlight the short-term benefits of water, focus on the immediate effects experienced by thirsty people when they drink water. “Our data and studies indicate that it’s very pleasurable to drink water when you’re very thirsty,” explains Papies, suggesting that ads and promotions should highlight the sensation of immediate reward. “We eat because we want something pleasurable now,” she explains. “So, emphasize that drinking water provides pleasure in the moment, or can provide a physical boost in the moment.” Her current studies are testing whether emphasizing the words “refreshing,” “thirst-quenching,” or even “energizing” when designing labels indeed boost simulations and attractiveness of water. This recommendation is strengthened by another study Papies recently published regarding the use of consumption and reward simulations to increase the appeal of plant-based foods, which are thought to be more bland and boring than their meat-based counterparts2—just as water is thought to be more boring than SSBs. “If you’re trying to motivate people to eat less meat and eat bean burgers instead,” you’ll be more successful not by emphasizing that the bean burgers are “vegan” or “healthy,” but that they are rewarding in the moment, according to Papies. “Emphasize that it’s ‘savory’ or ‘smoky’ or a pub favorite, rather than that it’s soy and it’s sustainable,” she says. These principles may similarly apply to water. JAN/FEB 2021 • BWR • 13

On labels, bottled water companies should consider using descriptive words like “refreshing” or “thirst-quenching.” Interestingly, using the word “healthy” on labels to promote bottled water—which is currently prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because bottled water products do not contain sufficient levels of several beneficial nutrients—may not be necessary, according to Papies. While IBWA’s position is that bottled water companies should be able to use the term “healthy” on labels should they choose to do so, Papies’ research indicates emphasizing “healthy” isn’t a gamechanger for our consumption habits. Papies and her team talked with people who drink SSBs at least once a week, and “the health-related features” of beverages only came up in about 5 percent of discussions. “Eating behavior is not affected much by ‘healthy’ labels,” Papies explains. “People don’t drink more if they report that it’s healthy, or drink less if it’s unhealthy.” But she does encourage bottled water companies to promote the idea that drinking more water would be healthier. Choose creative containers. Bottle design is “incredibly important; it makes you think about interacting with the product,” says Papies. She advises bottlers to “make it 14 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

enjoyable to pick up a bottle” that promotes a "hedonic feedback,” which will subtly encourage consumers to choose water packaged in that container. But in today’s increasingly climate-conscious environment, it’s also important to ensure water bottles are sustainable and reusable, she adds. And since consumers are increasingly concerned about packaging, bottlers that offer and deliver 5-gallon containers have an opportunity to promote their products by designing and selling (or offering for free) attractive, company-branded, refillable bottles. Papies suggests that these bottles could be promoted for use at office or home water stations—serving as both a marketing tool and an attractive and eco-friendly container for consumers to use when refilling from delivered jugs. Boost future consumption by focusing on children’s drinking habits. Papies notes that healthy hydration should begin when children are very young. This will lead to increased water consumption as those children become adults. But even more important than serving water to children is modeling healthy hydration habits by drinking water in front of them. “The most important thing parents [and caregivers] can do is drink water themselves, to model that good behavior,” Papies says. “That’s what works for instilling healthy habits.” Papies also recommends that schools promote water consumption—so bottled water companies may want to


consider committing part of their promotions and advertising budgets toward educational institutions. “We need to be offering water consistently in all situations” pertaining to children, including during learning encounters, Papies says. “Children in schools tend to be underhydrated. Just drinking one glass of water in school can improve cognitive ability. Schools should do more to provide water options.” Increase knowledge about the importance of hydration. In a new study currently under review at Appetite,3 Papies and two colleagues interviewed 60 participants and analyzed their water drinking behavior, finding that the subjects form and maintain situated water drinking habits. If people situate their water intake in one key situation—for example, drinking their water while at work—then their water consumption may become low and inconsistent when they leave that situation. In contrast, people who see drinking water as part of their selfidentity had more consistent and high water intake. Most study subjects did not perceive water as positive, and many did not understand the importance of hydration. Papies and her team concluded that increasing water intake necessitates boosting knowledge about the physical, cognitive, and affective benefits of good hydration, as well as encouraging consumers to develop specific and regular water drinking habits. Promote water as the “go-to” beverage of choice. Bottlers can provide education and help consumers develop better drinking habits by sharing information on their websites and in marketing materials encouraging consumers to drink more water. Include consumer-directed tips, such as stocking only water and no other beverages at home, and thinking about individual preferences for drinking water—such as very cold, filtered, or in a special container—then making sure those preferences can be easily accommodated, suggests Papies. Consumers should be advised to make it easy to access water so that the act of drinking water becomes more attractive, she says. “Some people think the act of getting water is effortful, so bring down the perceived effort.” And encourage consumers to have lots of water at the ready by having a glass—or bottle—ready in every room of the house. Offering products to help make water “fun” is another option. Providing fruit flavoring or other additions is one way to make water less boring, provide variation, and improve taste to boost consumers’ consumption and reward simulations, suggests Papies, although she does not yet have research to support that advice.

Papies and her team are working on an app to help people establish healthy hydration habits by working with people’s individual motivation. Her team is currently researching additional tools to help consumers boost their water intake and will be developing an app to help people establish healthy drinking habits—based on each user’s personal motivations. “We’re working toward what is required for people to establish habits and developing an app to help people do that, by working with people’s individual motivation,” she says. Researchers at the Healthy Cognition Lab will continue to investigate healthy hydration, “moving toward boosting the desire for water and helping people develop situated habits to [encourage] people to drink water in lots of situations,” Papies adds. The benefit for bottled water companies is that this type of research helps us not only learn more about how consumers choose to drink water but also how to better market our healthy hydration products and thus encourage healthier drinking habits. BWR

Christine Umbrell is a freelance writer based in Herndon, Virginia. Email her at

REFERENCES 1. Papies, E.K., “The Psychology of Desire and Implications for Healthy Hydration,” Hydration for Health Proceedings (Under Review). 2. Papies, E.K., Johannes, N., Daneva, T., Semyte, G., and Kauhanen, L.-L. (2020). “Using Consumption and Reward Simulations To Increase the Appeal of Plant-Based Foods.” Appetite, 155, 104812. 3. Rodger, A., Wehbe, L., and Papies, E.K. (2020). “I Know It's Just Pouring It From the Tap, But It’s Not Easy: Motivational Processes That Underlie Water Drinking,” PsyArXiv. October 5. doi:10.31234/

JAN/FEB 2021 • BWR • 15


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The simple act of breathing during the winter months can cause you to lose a significant amount of water, making it vital at this time of year to stay on top of your hydration needs and those of your loved ones, says the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA).


Most people think of dehydration as a hot-weather issue, and no doubt losing body water in the form of sweat triggers that thought process. Perhaps surprisingly, dehydration is also a winter concern because the dry winter air—both indoors and outside—is significantly less humid than summer air. Winter contributes to a risk of dehydration because people don’t notice they are sweating, as the sweat tends to evaporate quickly due to the dry air. But, as Jill Culora, IBWA's vice president of communications, notes, there's another sign you can watch out for to remind you to drink water. “If you can see your breath in the cold, dry air—that's moisture from our lungs leaving our body each time we exhale." In addition, temperatures tend to be cooler, which makes us less likely to feel thirsty. All of these factors can create a perfect storm for dehydration to set in. It's a good idea to keep bottled water handy, regardless of whether your winter "outings" consist of Zoom happy hours or morning jogs. Bottled water is the perfect beverage choice if you want to avoid or moderate calories, caffeine, sugar, artificial colors or flavors, alcohol, and other ingredients. Whether as a replacement for high-calorie beverages or a refreshing break between cocktail indulgences, bottled water offers consumers a refreshing, hydrating, and convenient beverage that provides consistent safety, quality, and good taste. And with the variety of bottled water available—from spring and purified to mineral and sparking—consumers have many choices to suit their specific needs and preferences.

Water Consumption Benefits “A 1-2 percent loss in body water can affect a person’s mood, energy level, and mental awareness, and yet they might not realize that dehydration is making them feel this way,” says Culora. “Remembering to keep bottled water handy—and sipping from it often—can help with mood, energy, and cognition.”

Maintaining adequate hydration at this time of year is tricky because the warning signs of dehydration can be subtle. That’s why it’s important to maintain good, healthy hydration habits throughout the year by regularly consuming water day and night—from the tap, filtered, or bottled. As Culora notes, “In the winter, people are less likely to feel thirsty, so it’s important to be mindful about regularly consuming water in order to stay well-hydrated throughout the day. If you drink a lot of water during the summer, that’s a good habit you should maintain during the colder months of the year.” Staying well hydrated at night is also critical. During overnight sleep, a person can lose as much as a pound of weight due to sweating and exhaling water vapor ( In addition, going to bed even mildly dehydrated can disrupt your sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. “Dehydration causes your mouth and nasal passages to become dry, setting you up for sleep-disruptive snoring and a parched throat and hoarseness in the morning. And a lack of pre-bed fluids can also lead to nocturnal leg cramps that may keep you awake. In addition to the frustration of fragmented sleep, being dehydrated during night can compromise your

DID YOU KNOW? The cold winter air can really leave your skin dry and parched. Drinking adequate amounts of water during the winter can help keep your skin healthy.

alertness, energy, and cognitive performance the following day” ( “Like at any other point during the year, bottled water is an excellent healthy hydration choice for those trying to stay hydrated or avoiding calories, caffeine, sugar intake, artificial colors, or flavors and other ingredients,” says Culora. “Consumers continue to increasingly choose refreshing, healthy, hydrating, and convenient beverages such as bottled water that provide consistent safety, quality, and good taste.” More information about bottled water can be found at BWR

Jill Culora is IBWA’s vice president of communications. Reach her at jculora@

JAN/FEB 2021 • BWR • 17


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If you’ve had a beverage, including bottled water, from a plastic bottle, then you most likely have had it from a 16.9 oz container made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic. This plastic packaging option, identified by its #1 recycling code, makes up 70 percent of bottled water market. PET plastic is both the most recognized as recyclable and the most widely recycled plastic in the world.


It is also a valuable resource. That’s because PET can be efficiently recycled and used over and over again. But that is not true for all plastics. Many common types of plastic (e.g., kitchen plastic wrap; grocery bags; snack food bags; plastic cups, straws, and utensils; and most takeout containers) simply cannot be as easily recycled because recycling facilities lack the appropriate equipment, and, therefore, those products have a much greater negative impact on the environment. Of course, there’s also a group of high value plastics that we can’t live without. These plastics are used for lifesaving medical equipment, devices, and food packaging, including bottled water. Used PET plastic bottles are collected through curbside collection systems, drop-off recycling programs, and bottle redemption centers, just like used cardboard or aluminum cans. The bottled water industry can use recycled PET (rPET) to make new beverage bottles, and the production process is the same as when using virgin PET, except rPET has a lower environmental footprint. According to one study, making new bottles from recycled plastic uses up to 56 percent less energy than using virgin plastic (; other studies have projected even bigger energy savings. You might not be aware that, for years, the bottled water industry has been hard at work reducing waste tied to the production of the No.1 bottled beverage in America. Continual light-weighting of PET bottled water packaging has seen the weight of the average bottle drop to 9.25 grams per 16.9 ounce individual-size container. That is almost one-third less than the amount of PET it takes to make soda and other drink containers, which need to be thicker due to carbonation and manufacturing processes and weigh, on average, 23.9 grams. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, between 2000 and 2014, the average weight of a 16.9-ounce (halfliter) PET plastic bottled water container declined 51 percent. That effort resulted

WHEN PLASTIC BOTTLES ARE RECYCLED, THE BOTTLED WATER INDUSTRY CAN REUSE THEM TO MAKE NEW CONTAINERS FROM OLD ONES. in a savings of 6.2 billion pounds of PET resin during that time period. More recently, companies are setting goals to use more rPET in their bottled water bottles. This is a win-win for everyone because that means manufacturers are using less virgin plastic, which greatly reduces the amount of new plastic being introduced to the marketplace, and consumers can feel good that their recycling efforts have a real return on investment. Their used containers are being put to good use as rPET packaging for beverage and food containers or made into other consumer items (e.g., polyester clothing, car interiors, shoes) without introducing new plastic into the system. It also keeps the bottles from ending up in the landfill or as litter. The concept of reduce, reuse, and recycle is part of a circular economy, which minimizes waste and makes the most of existing resources. In other words, it keeps valuable materials, such as recycled PET plastic, in use so that they can be used over and over again. If you’re looking for more information on the value of recycling, visit the social media pages of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA). For years, the association has included recycling education materials on its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest pages. More than a million people have viewed IBWA’s YouTube videos. That archive includes a few recycling edu-tainment videos, most notably the “Recycle Kitty” ( and “Recycling Empty Plastic Bottles” ( RecyclingBottles) videos. Recently, IBWA

added a five-part series called “Recycling Rex” ( You can also find pro-recycling information on IBWA’s “Put It In The Bin” website ( This initiative works with partner organizations to educate consumers about the importance of always putting recyclables in the bin. What consumers need to know is this: plastic beverage bottles, including bottled water, are 100 percent recyclable and should always be placed in a recycle bin—with caps on. When these valuable plastic bottles are recycled, the bottled water industry can reuse them to make new containers from old ones, which means that less virgin plastic is needed in the marketplace. Here are a few ways you can help reduce the impact of plastic on the environment: •

Shop wisely. Buy products that are packaged in 100 percent recyclable containers and packaging.

Purchase items that include recycled materials.

Make a pledge to always recycle all of your recyclable plastic food and beverage containers.

Tell your friends about your pledge and encourage them to join you.

Spread the word using these social media hashtags: #EndPlasticPollution #BuyRecyclablePackaging #AlwaysRecycle. BWR

Jill Culora is IBWA’s vice president of communications. Reach her at jculora@ JAN/FEB 2021 • BWR • 19

The Evolution of Advocacy By Cory Martin, IBWA Vice President of Government Relations

Last year was challenging for many reasons, and, due to the ongoing pandemic, 2021 will re-introduce many of those same challenges. For those of us who advocate on behalf of the bottled water industry, the hurdles we had to jump to survive 2020 provided many lessons that we can apply to our future efforts and help us be more successful. One such lesson was recognizing that virtual advocacy can be a very effective 20 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

way to connect with legislators and their staff when meeting in person is not possible.

Why Advocate in 2021 All 50 state legislatures and Congress will be in session this year, if they are not already. President Joe Biden has been sworn in as the president and his administration will be active in the coming weeks and months to set forth

new policy priorities. Many states and the federal government will be issuing legislative proposals that will impact the bottled water industry, including extended producer responsibility requirements, taxes on the sale of bottled water, taxes on groundwater extraction used for bottling, bans on bottled water sales, and much more. Now is the time to get to know your policymakers to help ensure that

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS legislative and regulatory actions have a positive impact on your industry and business. Fortunately, establishing and maintaining relationships is easier than ever before.

Advocacy 2.0 Traditional, in-person advocacy is still critical and preferable in many regards. Nothing beats getting in front of your elected official to discuss an issue impacting your business and industry. The added bonus of a faceto-face meeting is that you can read the room to see how legislators and their staff react to the discussion. In addition, holding in-person meetings at your plant or office is just as important because you’re able to show policymakers, in real time, exactly how bottled water is produced—and that education is crucial in helping them fully understand how the policy decisions they make impact your business and the bottom line. Luckily, much of what is typically part of an in-person interaction with your elected officials can still be accomplished effectively when face-to-face meetings are not possible. Meeting with your members of Congress, state legislators, or local officials is easier than ever before, and, while some of the opportunities to fully educate and share your story are diminished in a virtual setting, this advocacy medium has proven to be an effective means to successfully engaging and educating elected officials. Virtual advocacy offers several benefits. For starters, you are more likely to meet with your members of Congress or other elected officials, rather than their staff. Here’s why: In-person meetings are typically scheduled during a certain time frame on a particular day. However, because a policymaker’s day is often interrupted by impromptu appointments and other obligations that sometimes arise (such as a vote on the floor), he


or she may become unavailable at the designated time. Virtual meetings all but remove such obstacles—as long as you are flexible. If you are accommodating, you’ll more than likely get to meet with the elected official. Other benefits for you, the constituent, exist. For example, time away from your day job can be expensive in and of itself, not to mention the actual cost of travel and room and board when in DC or your state capital. Most industry advocates would agree that nothing replaces the in-person meeting. But, for the time being, a respite from travel allows you more time to focus on the success of your business—and participating in virtual meetings still provides ample opportunities to educate policymakers who can greatly impact the bottled water industry. When face-toface meeting opportunities once again become the norm, virtual meetings will still provide the benefit of connecting with policymakers in-between those in-person meetings. While in-person plant tours are critical to sharing your story, even virtual tours have been proven to be effective in educating policymakers. They offer fantastic opportunities to live-stream your plant in action to help policy staff and elected officials gain a better understanding of how the industry operates. It makes planning the logistics of such an event much easier, and you have full control over what is seen online and the overall discussion.

The Plan for 2021 IBWA hopes that we will soon be able to hold in-person fly-ins once again in Washington, DC, and state capitals across the United States, but, until then, we invite members of the industry to engage with their elected officials in virtual meetings. The potential impediments of travel time and costs are removed with these virtual events, and meetings can more easily be planned (and adjusted) around your and your elected officials’ schedules. Establishing relationships with your members of Congress and other elected officials is easier than ever before, and we encourage all IBWA members to work with IBWA staff to set up virtual meetings with your policymakers. BWR

LET IBWA SET UP YOUR NEXT MEETING In 2021, our elected officials will begin to have more time to consider other issues (besides COVID-19) that impact the bottled water industry, like bottled water sales bans and recycling. Help ensure legislators make educated policy decisions by scheduling meetings with your members of Congress and state legislators for the first quarter of the year. Contact IBWA Vice President of Government Relations Cory Martin if you need any help:

JAN/FEB 2021 • BWR • 21

Why Advocate for Increased Access to Recycling By Jill Culora, IBWA Vice President of Communications

The need to increase recycling rates has been magnified recently, largely due to a heightened awareness of plastic pollution in the environment and an anticipated supply shortfall of the post-consumer plastic needed to meet recycled content goals and mandates. For many years, IBWA has been actively engaged in efforts to educate consumers about the importance of recycling—and increasing recycling rates—by working with recycling organizations such as The Recycling Partnership (TRP) and Keep America Beautiful. But the truth is that recycling rates have clearly stagnated, despite the best efforts of a plethora of interested groups all sharing the same agenda.

Change on the Horizon The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking to create a National Recycling Strategy that has a goal of increasing the national recy22 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

cling rate for municipal solid waste to 50 percent by 2030. The national recycling rate is currently 23.6 percent, according to the EPA. That’s an ambitious goal, considering that as far back as 2010, when the national recycling rate was higher than it is today, it stood at 26 percent. (See "EPA Municipal Solid Waste Management: 1960 – 2018" on p.23.) Late last year, EPA sought comments on its draft National Recycling Strategy, and IBWA took that opportunity to provide the bottle water industry’s thoughts on this important issue. In our comments, we stressed the need to reduce recycling contamination so that less recyclable material is discarded, pressed EPA to develop and promote national recycling definitions to address confusion amongst consumers about what does or does not belong in a recycling bin, and highlighted the need

for an increase in consumer access to recycling services—at home, at work, and on the go. That last point, I believe, is a critical one. Expanding recycling collection services for multifamily developments and commercial customers could have a substantial impact on increasing recycling rates. For example, the city code of Orlando, Florida, states the following: “Commercial and multifamily waste tonnage is nearly twice the residential waste tonnage, so increasing commercial and multifamily recycling can have a big impact on diversion of waste from the landfill as well as recovering a greater percentage of raw materials for reuse” ( Residential curbside collection badly needs expansion too, as TRP notes in its “2020 State of Curbside Collection Report." As TRP's pie chart shows (see bottom of p.23), only 53 percent





Source: EPA

of American households have curbside recycling automatically provided ( The remaining 47 percent have subscriptionbased curbside access with an assumed uptake rate of 30 percent, drop-off access, and no access at all. TRP also reports that only 72 percent of those who have curbside collection participate in the program. When you add the lack of commercial and multifamily recycling collection services together with the lack of residential curbside collection and those who have curbside but don’t participate, it’s little wonder recycling rates have remained so low in recent years. Further evidence shows that the lack of away-from-home recycling access is a big piece of the stagnating recycling rate puzzle. COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdowns and work-from-home orders have resulted in people spending more time at home and less time at the office or out and about. When that occurred, recycling haulers reported a significant uptick in curbside collection. Resource Recycling commented that “[r]ecycling programs are reporting greater residential recycling generation in March, concurrent with stay-at-home orders issued

nationwide. Stakeholders involved with local programs are also noting the shift away from commercial generation may carry major financial implications” (bit. ly/ResourceRecycling_COVIDimpact).

Focus on the Future The TRP and Resource Recycling data supports the presumption that more

people will recycle when it’s easier to recycle—and that when access to recycling is limited, consumers are deterred from embracing recycling practices. In 2021, IBWA will continue to work with our partners to advocate for improvements to the recycling infrastructure and continue our ongoing efforts to use social media to provide consumers a recycling education based on facts. BWR


No Recycling Services Available 6%

Access to Drop-Off Services 21%

Subscription Based Curbside (Assumed Uptake of Service) 6%

Curbside Access Total 59% Curbside Recycling Automatically Provided 53%

Source: TRP

JAN/FEB 2021 • BWR • 23

How Low Recycling Rates Impact Industry's Use of rPET and rHDPE By Al Lear, IBWA Director of Science and Research

IBWA commissioned Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), a sustainability and recycling consulting firm, to conduct a study on the availability of food grade recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) and recycled high density polyethylene (rHDPE) for beverage bottles. The study, titled “Analysis of Food Grade Recycled PET (rPET) and HDPE (rHDPE) in the United States,” also identifies potential challenges to achieving targeted recycled content levels. RRS’ analysis includes a discussion of market dynamics related to each recycled resin that may affect the ability to meet modeled targets. While several beverage and bottled water brands have voluntarily made commitments to increase their use of recycled content, several states, including California and Washington, have set, or are considering policies that 24 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

would set, a minimum recycled content requirement for plastic packaging, which includes water bottles. Evaluating the impact of those potential mandates requires an understanding of how much recycled packaging material would be required to meet them and what it would take to recover that much material. The single-serve, gallon, and 2.5-gallon bottled water market uses two types of plastic resin in its packaging: PET and Natural Hight Density Polyethylene (NHDPE). PET represents about 92 percent of the total packaging for bottled water (1.667 billion lbs) compared to NHDPE’s 8 percent (144 million lbs).

Food Grade rPET Supply Gaps RSS found that supply is the biggest barrier for most rPET content scenarios.

Currently, bottle-grade rPET is only derived from recovered PET bottles. Gross tonnage recovered of this material has been relatively flat since 2012, and the recycling rate continues to hover around 30 percent. According to the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), the water bottle recycling rate is slightly higher at 33 percent. Based on the most up-to-date data available (2018), that level of recovery supports a rPET recycled content rate of 9 percent in beverage bottles. It’s important to remember that rPET is prominently used in other applications, including fiber (carpet and textiles), sheet (thermoform packaging), and industrial strapping. Fiber is currently the largest end use of rPET (42 percent), followed by bottles (33 - 27 percent food/beverage, 6 percent non-food). Manufacturers of rPET

TECHNICAL UPDATE bottles will compete with those other rPET users for the foreseeable future. The reclamation infrastructure for bottle-grade rPET is most concentrated in the Midwest-East Central region (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana), followed by the South (Georgia, North Carolina) and the Pacific (California) regions. The South also has significant reclamation capacity for fiber grade rPET. California has the most significant sheet end use. IBWA’s study modeled three different national scenarios for rPET use requirements: • Scenario 1: 25% rPET requirement for all states by 2025 requires a 52% recycling rate. Current rate is 28.9% • Scenario 2: 50% rPET requirement for all states by 2030 requires an 82% recycling rate. Current rate is 28.9% • Scenario 3: 75% rPET requirement for all states by 2030 requires a 110% recycling rate. Current rate is 28.9%

Key rPET Takeaways A couple key takeaways from the analysis of availability of food grade rPET: • Post-consumer resin (PCR) targets for PET and HDPE water and other beverage bottles on a national scale will require significant efforts along the recycling value chain to increase the supply of recovered feedstock (e.g., greater access and promotion of curbside recycling and efficiently run bottle deposit programs). • To meet any national rPET targets, the focus would be primarily on increasing supply through postconsumer recovery activities, with the expectation that reclamation capacity would develop to meet demand as more feedstock becomes available.

Food Grade rHDPE Supply Gaps Supply, cost, and technical constraints impact the potential use of rHDPE. The modeled rHDPE scenarios require less PCR than the PET scenarios. That’s

TO MEET PROPOSED RECYCLING CONTENT MANDATES, RECYCLING RATES FOR PET AND HDPE WILL HAVE TO INCREASE DRASTICALLY. because there is far less HDPE used in water bottles and beverage packaging in general than PET. The relevant fraction of HDPE to consider when looking at rHDPE targets is natural HDPE (NHDPE), a colorless form of the resin, typically used in food contact applications, such as beverage containers. The majority of NHDPE is used in milk jugs, which have typically been excluded from other policies targeting beverage containers, such as container deposit laws. The modeled scenarios do not include PCR targets or mandates related to non-water HDPE bottles. Only about 8 percent of all water bottles are made from NHDPE resin. Currently, nearly all rNHDPE goes to non-food bottles with minimal-to-no use in food and beverage containers. There are some inherent technical challenges to using rNHDPE as feedstock for beverage containers, including the following: • Stricter input requirements than rPET. Only food grade NHDPE can be used as food grade rHDPE. • Low volume. There is only about 1.5 billion lbs of NHDPE bottles sold into the market annually and 431 million lbs of NHDPE bottles collected. This has been relatively flat since 2012. • High cost. rHDPE is consistently priced higher than virgin HDPE and rPET. That is primarily driven by demand for rHDPE created by the California Rigid Plastic Packaging Container (RPPC) Law, which requires non-food HDPE containers to use recycled content. • Residual odor/taste. If recycled content increases beyond 25 percent, residual odor/taste may be an issue.

IBWA’s study modeled three different national scenarios for rNHDPE use requirements: • Scenario 1: 25% rNHDPE requirement for all states by 2025 requires a 38.5% recycling rate. Current rate is 29%. • Scenario 2: 50% rNHDPE requirement for all states by 2030 requires a 46% recycling rate. Current rate is 29%. • Scenario 3: 75% rNHDPE requirement for all states by 2030 requires a 50.4% recycling rate. Current rate is 29%.

Key rHDPE Takeaway Meeting rHDPE demand in all scenarios is as much of an issue of technical feasibility (e.g., odor, taste) as it is supply quantity issue. Those challenges will need to be better understood through product testing, in addition to increasing post-consumer recovery.

Member Resource IBWA emailed a copy of its rPET and rHDPE report to all IBWA members and a link was provided in an IBWA News Splash article. Members can also access the study by logging onto the Members’ Only side of the IBWA website ( Once logged on, select "Member Dashboard" from the dropdown menu under "Membership." Under "Resources," look for the title “IBWA Analysis of Food Grade Re­cycled PET (rPET) and Recycled HDPE (rHDPE) in the United States.” In addition to the research results, RRS provided IBWA with a model that can be used to conduct future gap analysis to determine the feasibility of meeting various food grade recycled content commitments and/or mandatory requirements. BWR JAN/FEB 2021 • BWR • 25



certified plant operators (CPOs) are encouraged to complete the following quiz for ½ IBWA continuing education unit (CEU). The questions are derived from material presented in this issue of the Bottled Water Reporter, the IBWA Plant Technical Reference Manual, and the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice. Submit this quiz to Linda Amar ( / Fax: 703.683.4074), IBWA Education and Technical Program Coordinator, 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 650, Alexandria, VA 22134. Look for additional quizzes in future issues and earn additional IBWA CEUs!

Name______________________________________________________ Company__________________________________________________ Address____________________________________________________ City_______________________________________________________ State/Province______________________________________________

ZIP/Postal Code____________________________________________

Check your selection for each question


Some states are considering policies that would set a minimum recycled content requirement for plastic packaging, including water bottles. Those states include (select all that apply):


New York California Texas Washington State


The revised 2021 IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice includes a new requirement for water quality reports. That requirement is located in _____.


Rule 1(b) Rule 5(a) Rule 2(c) Rule 5(b)


The _____ bottled water market uses two types of plastic resin in its packaging: polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and natural high density polyethylene (NHDPE) (select all that apply).


1 gallon 1 liter 500 ml 2.5 gallon


According to the new 2021 IBWA Code of Practice, water intended for bottling must be from a source approved by _____.


the applicable regulatory agency the USEPA FDA U.S. Department of Agriculture


Availability of rPET and rHDPE will be dependent upon _____.


Recycling rates Use of virgin resins Bottle deposit revenue Public participation



The revised Code of Practice will continue required testing for polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in 2021 using EPA Method _____.


533 537.1 537 525


No new or additional testing is required under this informational requirement for water quality reports.

O True O False


Beginning in 2021, IBWA bottlers will be required to test for PFAS compounds in finished water using EPA Method 533.

O True O False


Beginning in 2021, records of required sampling and analysis shall be maintained at the plant not less than _____ years and shall be available for official review upon request of the applicable state agency.


3 5 2 10


The IBWA SOQ for PFAS in bottled water is ___ ppt for one PFAS compound and ___ ppt for 2 or more detections of PFAS compounds.


10 and 20 5 and 15 20 and 50 5 and 10



23-25 • FEBRUARY IBWA Board of Directors

Analytical Technology. . . . . . . Inside Back Cover

and Committee Meetings Video Conference

7-9 • MARCH CBWA Convention

Blackhawk Molding Co. . . . . Inside Front Cover

and Trade Show (PCQI class, March 9-11) Paso Robles Inn Paso Robles, CA

Polymer Solutions Int'l . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Sigma Home

12-15 • MAY NWBWA Convention

Products Co., Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

and Trade Show Embassy Suites Hotel PDX Airport Portland, OR

Steelhead Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Outside Back Cover

7-10 • JUNE IBWA Board of Directors

and Committee Meetings and Capitol Hill Appointments Hilton Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

Support your industry while getting ahead of the competition! Place an ad in IBWA's Bottled Water Reporter magazine. Why We Need a Federal PFAS Standard



IN THIS ISSUE Three Lessons IBWA's Water for Bottlers From Stewardship Best a Wastewater Practices Guide Treatment Facility

Why Water Should Be Added to MyPlate



IN THIS ISSUE States Consider Responding to Bottled Water PFAS Regulation Myths With Facts

Promoting IBWA Bottlers the Granted Labeling Exemption Recyclability of Bottled Water Containers




W W W. B O T T L E D W AT E R . O R G

IN THIS ISSUE IBWA Establishes Correcting a Coast-to-Coast Misinformation Advocacy Network With Bottled Water Facts


W W W. B O T T L E D W AT E R . O R G

W W W. B O T T L E D W AT E R . O R G


THE HEALTHY HYDRATION ISSUE PROVEN STEWARDSHIP How the bottled water industry is a leader in environmental sustainability

DOING OUR PART The positive impact of offering environmentally friendly beverage containers to eco-conscious consumers

Also Inside:

Who Will You Nominate for a 2020 IBWA Award? IBWA Bottlers Earn "Excellence in Manufacturing" Designation A PUBLICATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL BOTTLED WATER ASSOCIATION

Also Inside:

Why Experts Recommend Water The Case for Water's Continued Inclusion in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans A PUBLICATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL BOTTLED WATER ASSOCIATION

Also Inside:

Why Meeting With Legislators Matters FDA Launches Food Safety Dashboard A PUBLICATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL BOTTLED WATER ASSOCIATION

IBWA’s award-winning, bimonthly magazine, Bottled Water Reporter, is the only trade magazine in the United States that exclusively targets the bottled water industry. IBWA has proudly been offering digital editions of its magazine online since 2009. Issues are mailed directly to IBWA members and nonmember subscribers six times a year. Bonus distribution offered during in-person IBWA Annual Business Conference and Trade Shows. IBWA members can review past issues by logging on at and then selecting Member Dashboard under the Membership tab. Click the "Bottled Water Reporter" button for access to the archive. Contact Stephanie: 817.719.6197 /

BOTTLED WATER: BY THE NUMBERS The Beverage Marketing Corporation’s preliminary numbers for 2020 show Bottled Water that bottled water is Continues Its Reign America’s favorite as No.1 Packaged packaged drink—now Beverage for five years in a row.

92% PET



requires a


recycling rate



In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, IBWA held its first virtual conference in 2020. This unique situation enabled members to allow more employees to participate. In fact, bottler "attendance" was up 35 percent.

In the study “Analysis of Food Grade Recycled PET (rPET) and HDPE (rHDPE) in the United States,” commissioned from Resource Recycling Systems (RSS) by IBWA, it was revealed that the single-serve, 1 gallon, and 2.5-gallon bottled water market uses two types of plastic resin in its packaging: polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and Natural Hight Density Polyethylene (NHDPE)—with PET representing about 92 percent of the total packaging for bottled water (1.667 billion lbs) and NHDPE making up the rest at 8 percent (144 million lbs).

The research by RSS shows that if there is a 25 percent rPET requirement in beverage containers for all states by 2025, then the recycling rate, which currently stands at 28.9 percent, would need to increase to 52 percent. For more, see page 24.



98% IBWA’s membership renewal rate for 2020 was 98.2 percent. Want to become an IBWA member? Visit

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Model Q46H/64

Modular Gas Detector

Model A14/A11 • Expandable and Available for Multi-Channel Applications • Optional Self-Checking Sensors

• No Interference from Residual Chlorine • Direct Measurement of Ozone without Reagents • Multiple Sensor Mounting Styles • Low Operating Cost with Minimal Maintenance Required • Optional pH Sensor for Dual Parameter Monitoring

Digital Gas Detector

Model F12 • Available for AC, DC, or Battery • Uses “Smart Sensors” • Optional Self-Checking Sensors


Portable Gas Detector

Model C16 • Data Logger Standard • Uses “Smart Sensors” for up to 33 Different Gases


All bottling bottling processes processes are are not not equal. equal. Steelhead Steelhead stands stands alone alone with with our our commitment commitment ommitme All ommitme eenntt ients. to innovation, effi ciency and bottom line profi tability for our clients. ients. to innovation, efficiency and bottom line profitability for our clients. LI T Y QQUUAALITYs sININ

High Speed Speed Bottling Bottling Systems: Systems: 450 450––3000 3000bph bph55Gallon GallonSystems Systems High




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