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Aquamantra teams with ENSO Bottles to become first water in 100% biodegradable bottles Staff Report

March 10, 2009

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California-based Aquamantra water will be the first corporation to use 100% biodegradable bottles that manufacturer ENSO Bottles will make available this spring, according to an Aquamantra announcement. The bottles also can be recycled into other products.

The goal, said Aquamantra founder and president Alexandra Teklak, is to cut the amount of non-degradable plastic in landfills, an issue that a number of cities have cited in removing bottled water from government offices.

"I have a love for this planet and a love for humanity," said Teklak. "I'm just so grateful to be a leader in the solution."

The first bottles of Aquamantra in the new containers are expected to be on shelves west of Denver in Albertson's, Whole Foods and speciality stores in May.

Teklak said she ruled out bottles made from cornstarch (PLA) because the company needed a bottle that would survive 1-2 years in stores before beginning to degrade. Other possible solutions, such as oxy-degradables require sunlight to breakdown, according to an Aquamantra news release, making it difficult to dispose of them in landfills.

"I just wanted people to know, we really do care," said Teklak, whose Aquamantra water is sold under four names: I Am Healthy, I Am Loved, I Am Lucky and I Am Grateful. The spring water comes from Palomar Mountain Spring near San Diego, Ca.

Only a year old, ENSO Bottles of  Phoenix, Ariz., was created, according to its web site, "through the collaborated effort of bottle manufactures looking to provide earth friendly PET bottling solutions."

PET  stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate, a plastic that is strong, lightweight and clear. It's used as a container for water, soft drinks, other foods, and non-food items such as household cleaners. PET containers can be recycled into new bottles and other products, but most of the millions of tons in use each year wind up in landfills, where they can take hundreds of years to decompose.

ENSO Bottles, according to Teresa Clark, vice president of sales and marketing, are 100% biodegradable, decompose in about five years and add only "pennies" to the cost of a bottle of water or other product. Like traditional PET bottles, the ENSO bottles also can be recycled into other products. And they don't need special treatment. They can be mixed in with PET bottles and recycled.

Aquamantra is the first company to announce it will use ENSO Bottles, said Clark, but the company has orders for 2.5 billion from other corporations, including non-food suppliers, such as cosmetics firms. Companies either can order complete bottles from ENSO or buy the material to make bottles and form their own.

Within about six months, consumers should start seeing ENSO bottles in a variety of stores, said Clark.

She said the firms that contributed to creation of the bottles are hoping consumers will see them as an answer to the landfill-clogging problems that go with PET containers and to the health worries associated with hard plastic bottles that contain Bisphenol A (BPA), a weak estrogenic compound that studies are linking to health problems because it leaches into food or water.

"We're trying to encompass the entire industry that handles PET packaging," she said.

One ENSO-related issue is what happens to the methane gas produced when ENSO bottles degrade, said Clark. Methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming but it can be captured and used as fuel. "We're working with landfills to capture the methane," said Clark.




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