Business

Water stations saved masses of plastic trash

  • Refreshing idea: Bluewater installed eight drinking water rehydration stations at the America’s Cup Event Village in Dockyard. It is estimated that during the event last month the drinking stations did away with the need for 250,000 disposable plastic bottles (Photograph by Bluewater)

Free drinking water hydration stations at the America’s Cup Event Village saved an estimated quarter-of-a-million throwaway plastic bottles ending up as trash.

And that is only part of the success story for the company that was responsible for the eight free-standing hydration stations at the 39-acre site, because Bluewater also installed water purification equipment and piping at the Morgan’s Point base of Sweden’s Artemis Team Racing.

The company has tallied up the numbers to see how much free still and sparkling water was consumed at the event village through the unmanned stations, and it said the programme had exceeded expectations on water production and usage.

“After crunching the numbers, we are proud to announce the total number of plastic bottles, 500ml or 16.9 fl ozs, that were diverted from landfill and elevated from the event reached a total count of 249,018,” said Bengt Rittri, the environmental entrepreneur who founded Sweden’s Bluewater.

Operations at the America’s Cup Event Village were designed to minimise ecological impact. Attention was given to the use of packaging and food containers that could be recycled or were easily compostable.

Spectators were encouraged to bring refillable water containers, while one-use plastic bottles were banned from being brought onto the site.

Figures collected by Bluewater reveal how successful that policy was — and how mindful the public was to bringing along reusable containers.

During the five weeks of the competition at Dockyard, which ended on June 26, spectators were treated to sunny days and high temperatures. At times queues formed at the hydration stations as spectators lined up to refill their drinking bottles.

In a statement, Bluewater said: “The organisers of the world’s premium sailing tournament had set their minds on banning single-use plastic from official venues and the America’s Cup Village — and Bluewater’s compact second-generation reverse osmosis water purifiers proved the ultimate go-to solution.”

The company deployed its Spirit and Pro water purifiers, which use up to 82 per cent less water than traditional reverse osmosis water purifiers to flush out contaminants.

Stockholm-based Bluewater was also responsible for a water collection and purification system at the Artemis Team Racing base in Bermuda. Rainwater was collected from the roof and stored in four 1,000-gallon tanks. The company installed three of its Pro water purifiers, which could generate more than 70 gallons of purified water every hour. This was used by the 100-strong team throughout the base, from the kitchen to the canteen, gym, boat shed and in water coolers, ice machines and coffee makers.

Mr Rittri said the America’s Cup in Bermuda had demonstrated “that it is possible to harness technology and human ingenuity to battle contaminated water quality, reduce waste and boost recycling”.

The need to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the environment has been highlighted by the United Nations, which estimates that eight million tonnes of plastic leaks into the oceans every year, the equivalent of a trash truck of plastic every minute.

And renowned architect and leading voice on sustainability William McDonough, while visiting Bermuda last week, also warned about the amount of throwaway plastic detritus that ends up in the oceans, and spoke of the need for countries and communities to seek solutions.

Meanwhile, Mr Rittri said human and business ingenuity must be leveraged to the full to stop the pollution.

“Taking 250,000 disposable plastic bottles out of circulation is great news for all of us and our environment. It shows how even small actions can positively impact our war on the plastics that take hundreds of years to break down,” he said.

Bluewater has a website at http://www.bluewatergroup.com