San Miguel drops plastic water bottle production

Asian beverage giant San Miguel Corporation has announced its intention to discontinue the plastic-bottled Purewater line to boost the company's commitment to tackling "pressing" social and environmental issues.

San Miguel Corporation, which owns numerous food and brewery brands, will cease production of its Purewater plastic bottle products in order to limit the amount of plastic waste that escapes into waterways and oceans. Purewater will instead be rebranded and focused towards filtration technology to be deployed during natural disasters to provide safe drinking water.

“The plastic-bottled water business has given us good returns, but we are choosing to forego it in favor of our long-term sustainability goals,” San Miguel’s president Ramon S. Ang said.

“As we’ve transformed to a diversified business with interests in critical industries like power, infrastructure, public utilities and fuels, we realise we have a much bigger role to play in tackling the most pressing social and environmental issues.”

The decision to stop production of the bottled-water line follows on from San Miguel’s pledge to halve its water consumption by 2025. The Water For All initiative was launched in March 2017 and the company confirmed that the discontinuation won’t counted towards this target.

Plastic throttled

San Miguel’s decision follows a growing trend of companies and governments exploring ways to reduce the amount of waste plastic produced. Last week, UK MPs reopened an inquiry into the environmental impact of waste from disposable coffee cups and plastic bottles.

Scotland signalled its intentions to introduce a national deposit return scheme for drinks containers. The scheme will mirror parallel deposit return projects in Scandinavian countries such as Norway, where recycling rates of containers are now above 95%.

Danone, which owns bottled-water brands such as Evian, has explored the potential of commercialising 100% bio-based plastic bottles, while bottling company Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) vowed to reform UK recycling systems and boost recycled content in its products to 50%.

CCEP confirmed that this would include a return scheme for packaging, which it publicly supported in February 2017. In fact, Coca-Cola’s new advert for its products contains 1,500 pieces of recycled plastic, to highlight the firm’s commitment to recycling plastic.

Matt Mace

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