By Michelle Zhang
Boxed Water Is Better. You must have heard it by now. The judge and jury have spoken—boxed water is, in fact, better. But better than what? Sure, boxed water might be marginally better for the environment than plastic water bottles. And who can argue with their claim!? With such a snappy logo and aesthetically appealing product, I’d believe anything! But Boxed Water is just another case of greenwashing, because what’s really better is a reusable water bottle. They tout that their sustainable packaging and high efficiency shipping reduces their carbon footprint, but their carbon footprint is massive compared to that of drinking tap water from a reusable water bottle. Singe serve water bottles have been called the “most wasteful indulgence in the first world,”1 as landfills are overflowing with more than 2 million tons of discarded water bottles a year.2 Efforts to curb water bottle consumption are producing little change. Over 480 billion water bottles were sold in 2016, and this number is expected to jump to 583.3 billion by 2021.3 And at $1.89 a pop, Boxed Water is doing nothing to decrease that number.
A similar company, Rethink Brands, recently secured $6.7 million in funding for their line of boxed “unsweetened organically flavored water” for children. If this is not the most pompous, supercilious product you have ever heard of, let me know. Over-the-top products for people with money coming out of their ears are good and fine, but when they are branded as impactful, I take issue. The best thing any consumer can do for the environment is to avoid these products at all costs and simply buy a reusable water bottle. And the most impactful thing an investor can do when confronted with a product like this is to run in the opposite direction.