Sustainability| 5 min read

Planet Partner Feature: Talking Single Use Plastics With PATH

These refillable aluminium water bottles replace their plastic competitors, and are making waves in the single use plastic crisis.
WRITTEN BY Tayllor Henczel

Protecting the planet is a big job, but luckily we’ve got help. We’ve teamed up with some of our favourite Planet Partners to get you in the sustainable mindset and help us plant more trees than ever. Our Planet Partners are changing the way we think about everyday things like food and sports to protect the world we play in. With their help, and yours too, we’re looking to shake things up and get the world thinking a little greener, one environmental-ish step at a time.

PATH is on a mission to solve one of our planet’s biggest collective addictions: plastic water bottles. Their PH-balanced water comes in aluminum bottles that can be used time and time again, keeping plastic out of our oceans. We collaborated on a limited edition tentree x PATH water bottle (available in the US only) that plants 10 trees with each purchase. In total, PATH has committed to planting 100,000 trees with us!

Tune in as they talk about their breakthrough developments in reducing single use plastics.

 

Q: Tell us a little bit about PATH.

Plastic is found in just about everything these days, but the most detrimental products to the planet are those that are single-use.

Over 90 percent of plastic doesn’t get recycled, leaving single-use plastic waste to flood landfills and our environment.

My co-founders and I wanted to address both the problem in how bottles were being manufactured and how people were consuming, so we created the first refillable aluminum bottled water brand. With our mission to forge the path to end single-use plastic bottles, we ended up creating a global movement supported by consumers, activists, celebrities, and investors.

Upending the historically profit-driven beverage industry and altering consumer habits is no easy task. To successfully tackle the mission at hand and develop a viable solution, we researched every aspect of how a bottled water brand could positively affect the environment and change consumer behaviour.

We wanted to create a product with three key features: the sustainability of an attractive reusable bottle, the convenience of bottled water and an affordable price of under $3. The biggest challenge was the material. We ruled out TetraPak because it is more difficult to recycle than plastic, and glass is fragile and heavy to transport.

The only material that paired the sturdiness and weight of plastic without a hefty environmental footprint was aluminum. It’s one of the only materials that is 100% recyclable, meaning that the same bottle tossed in the recycling bin can be remade entirely into a new aluminum item.

 

Q: What has sustainability looked like practically for PATH? What are sustainability goals for the future?

We believe that if people make small sustainable choices, they will make an impact. It starts with consumers choosing to refill over single-use and companies choosing to provide sustainable products that are accessible to everyone.

In addition to giving consumers a sustainable option, we’ve partnered with hundreds of organizations, businesses, and schools to help them transition off single-use plastics and provide their employees and/or customers with our refillable solution.

We’re committed to off-setting our carbon footprint and will be carbon neutral this year. Our goal is to eliminate 10 billion plastic bottles from waste streams by 2025.

If you’re refilling a PATH bottle at least four times then you’re already making an impact. We also have new innovations coming out later this year that will take us to the next level of sustainability, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that announcement in a few months.

 

Reusable aluminum water bottle

 

Q: While we know sustainability requires an everyday effort, Earth Month is a powerful time to amplify earth-first causes. What’s PATH doing for Earth Month?

Everything we do is centred around sustainability, so it feels like we’re celebrating Earth Month year-round. We’ll continue to raise awareness about climate change and the work that we and our partners are doing to make an impact.

We’re excited about our partnership with the tentree team and collaborating on a refillable bottled water that will plant 10 trees with each purchase. In all, we’ve committed to planting 100,000 trees this year through our partnership!

 

Q: What’s the impact of switching to a PATH bottle from plastic bottled water?

With the high rate of reusability built into our PATH bottle—the thickness, sturdiness, and overall long life of a bottle—the carbon footprint is re-cooped at just three bottle refills. The great news is that we surveyed our customers and found that the average PATH consumer exceeds 10+ refills, making PATH a product that drastically reduces carbon emissions for every person who switches from single-use bottled water.

We don’t blame consumers for drinking out of plastic, that’s mainly what’s been available. Our society as a whole has been programmed to think that it’s okay to drink a bottled beverage over a few minutes then toss it out. The bottled water industry exists because of convenience and accessibility, but PATH is here to offer a better solution.

 

Q: What sets PATH bottles apart from other reusable bottles?

What sets PATH apart from competitors is our brand’s signature refillable aluminum bottle. We want consumers to buy less product and focus on reusing.

We love reusable water bottles. If you have them, use them! But, many canteen-style bottles can be pricey and less accessible on-the-go. PATH is in more than 20,000 retail stores making it easy to get some water to hydrate and then keep using the bottle again and again. Let’s face it, it is easy to forget to bring a water bottle with you.

 

Q: Tell us about the water bottle you designed with us for Earth Month! What’s the inspiration behind it?

We’re very excited about our collaboration with tentree. We went with an evergreen (pun intended), minimalistic design to encourage people to reuse the bottle year-round. We looked around the tentree site and found merchandise that inspired the shade of green that we used on the bottle. We also added, “every bottle plants ten trees” to celebrate each consumer’s contribution to this cause. Hydrating has never looked so good!

 

Reusable aluminum water bottle

 

Q: What are some alternatives to single-use plastics that you’d recommend?

Besides PATH’s Still, Sparkling and Alkaline water in refillable aluminum bottles, a few other easy single-use plastic alternatives are reusable straws and grocery bags, and decline cutlery from take-out orders whenever you can.

People have become so accustomed to the quick, single-use everyday items that we end up throwing away and we all need to get better at planning ahead to make little sustainable changes happen.

Remembering to bring reusable items with you isn’t always easy or convenient (which is part of the reason we started PATH, so there is a sustainable option on-the-go). But as the saying goes, “there is no Planet B,” so we need to put in the work to take care of our Earth together, now.

 

Q: Can you share three tips for people looking to live more sustainably when it comes to single-use plastics?

Our three tips for people to live more sustainably is to reuse, reuse, reuse. I know that’s technically one, but it’s because it’s the most crucial!

It sounds simple, but we’ve been conditioned otherwise as a society. The more you choose to reuse and reduce the amount of single-use items that you’re buying, the more brands will catch on that consumers are demanding sustainable changes to products.

People have more power than they think when it comes to what they’re buying. Just like the amazing clothing and accessories that tentree offers (we didn’t bribe him to say that, we promise!).

 

Want to learn more about PATH (and where you can snag some aluminum bottles for yourself)? Check out their website.

If you’re in the US, check out the limited edition tentree x PATH refillable aluminum bottle — each bottle plants 10 trees!

Want to get a big picture view of the single use plastic crisis? We dive into the causes and contributing factors in a comprehensive article.

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