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Well Water reduces plastic in their water coolers using our Circular Design Metrics

Sustainable packaging provider helps The Well Water to solve common issues with water cooler bottles whilst removing hard-to-recycle plastics

Well Water wanted to reduce the amount of plastic in their water cooler packaging.

Aqueduct – Well Water Ltd, who supply water and unique first-generation water coolers to its customers, were seeking the right partner to design a long-term packaging solution that aligned with their sustainability ambitions. Well Water chose to partner with DS Smith, who work with customers to remove problem plastics and ensure their packaging fits into the circular economy.

Well Water purchased a natural mineral water plant in Scotland in 2018. Within a year the company decided to close the plant’s plastic bottle line in order to move towards more sustainable operations. Well Water set out to replace polycarbonate water coolers commonly used in offices, with a new more sustainable and healthier option.

In their effort to eliminate plastics from their products, Well Water and DS Smith created a new bag-in-box solution which is both environmentally friendly and efficient. They found the traditional plastic water cooler bottle model to be flawed, with hundreds of “water miles” needed to be made before profits are achieved. DS Smith’s packaging solution removes the need for plastic returnable bottles, achieving a greater than 60% reduction in truck movement and associated carbon emissions.

By using a fibre based OTOR design, DS Smith was able to create a more visually attractive and reduced plastic product.

The use of BPA free packaging represents a move away from BPA (BisPhenol A) hardened plastic bottles. This eliminates the rising health concerns associated with same.  The cooler cannot contaminate the water so what is packed is what you drink.  Hence the tagline “Purity by design”.

It’s been great to work with DS Smith to create our unique bag-in-box solution. It achieves our goal of removing plastics from the supply chain & increasing product sustainability. It's a health-positive substitution as it is BPA free.

Kieran McKenna
Founder & President of Aqueduct– Well Water Ltd

Well Water has invested in DS Smith’s OTOR line of packing machinery to ensure that optimum levels of materials are used, and any unnecessary material eliminated. The machinery also uses virgin board grade which supports the re-use of fibres. One of Well Water’s current customers estimates that their switch from single use plastic bottles to Purely Scottish Natural Mineral Water in a Box, coupled with a smart reusable aluminium 500 ml bottle, will remove 680,000 of small plastic bottles per annum from just one depot in a large multi-depot supply chain.  One other company has removed 1.37 million small pack plastic bottles between November 2021 and April 2022 alone with further significant volumes expected.

Adam Platts, Sales, Marketing, and Innovation Director at DS Smith Packaging UK & Ireland said: “We’re pleased to have partnered with Well Water to create this market leading packaging line and bag-in-box solution. The pack that we have designed together is truly circular and removes problem plastics from the supply chain. Our circular design metrics, that compare the performance of a packaging design across a range of indicators, demonstrate that the new bag-in-box product has 96% material utilisation – significantly reducing the amount of waste naturally occurred in the production process. 98% of the solution is recyclable and 96% of materials used have come from renewable sources.

Our Circular Design Metrics are an industry first and make it possible for customers to rate the circularity of their packaging. Through the design process, we can see and compare the performance of a pack’s design across a range of indicators, such as recyclability, renewable content, and supply chain optimisation. In total, the metrics have eight different indicators that provide a clear indication of circularity performance and help identify areas with potential for improvement.

Our work with Well Water has shown that sustainable packaging is an essential step for brands wanting to enhance their sustainability credentials, and our Circular Design Metrics can help them achieve that.”

The new design is not just a more sustainable solution, but also a cleaner alternative to plastics which can impact the taste of water.

As well as the environmental benefits, the innovative bag-in-box solution provides several tangible benefits for customers.

  • The bag is taint free, meaning that it does not change the water’s taste, and is also more hygienic than plastic alternatives, with each bag having its own fresh water tap.
  • Furthermore, the boxes are easier to store than plastic bottles, and are also lighter and easier to lift.

It truly is the “leaner, cleaner and greener” alternative.

Learn about our industry first tool- the Circular Design Metrics.

Guide to the Circular Design Metrics

Download this informational guide for a comprehensive explanation of the Circular Design Metrics, their benefits and applied case studies.