Marie Stella Maris’ sustainable bottle

Locally bottled mineral water, sustainably packaged.
Project : Material and packaging advice.
Role : Sustainable design consultant
Marie Stella Maris flessen van 50% recycled PET
Marie Stella Maris bottled, made from 50% recycled PET

Marie Stella Maris Water (MSMW) is a Dutch mineral water brand that offers tasteful, clean mineral water at a normal sales price that includes a fixed percentage that is used for providing people access to clean and safe drinking water thousands of miles from here. MSMW has teamed up with Aqua for All to realize drinking water projects in Uganda and Tanzania.

Design for Good was a sparring partner in the packaging development process with a focus on the material selection. With MSMW’s marketing and packaging team we discussed and compared packaging materials like paper, glass and rPET. What recycled materials are already widespread available in a good quality and what does it mean for the final quality, product safety and logistics when we pack in recycled materials? And for the years to come: what are the prospects for bio based packaging? The search for optimal packaging is an ongoing process, as MSMW only wants to use the most sustainable solution that is commercially and technically feasible.

At this moment we chose plastic PET bottles that already consist for 50% of recycled PET. The manufacturer guarantees the purity and safety of the food approved material. Any post consumer plastic parts that are used for recycling into new raw materials are first deeply cleaned and cleared of impurities, making the former waste now completely clean and safe to use, sometimes even cleaner than it was when it was used for the first time.

Looking ahead.

In the nearby future we expect to be able to raise the percentage of recycled content. At this moment however, that could lead to an unstable supply of raw materials and that was a risk we didn’t want to take with a brand that is only gaining in popularity. The one liter sized bottles are involved in the common and proven Dutch packaging deposit system so approximately 95% of the bottles is effectively recycled. This flow of materials is contained so well that (even at the current 50% of rPET) using these bottles actually decreases the virtual height of the pile of plastic waste.

With the help of Plastic Heroes it has become possible in almost all municipalities in the Netherlands to also recycle plastic packing that are not involved in the packaging deposit system, like the smaller 0,5 L bottle. A welcome development. And in a few years, no more packaging based on virgin crude oil? Correct, not if we have anything to say about it!

Skills: design consultancy