LIMERICK-based ISHKA Irish Spring Water is on course to dramatically reduce plastic pollution through the use of tethered caps, becoming the first bottled water company in Ireland to do so.
The company will trial the caps across its spring water range from this week – three years before EU rules make it compulsory for plastic bottle tops to remain connected to bottles.
Bottle tops account for 10% of plastic litter found on European beaches and the EU’s Single-Use Plastic Directive includes a provision to ensure they are recycled together with the rest of the bottle.
Later this year, all ISHKA 500ml spring water bottles will have their caps fully attached to the bottle, making them extremely difficult to remove.
“ISHKA is determined to do all we can as a business to drive the necessary change in consumer behaviour to help solve our global waste problem and protect marine life,” said Denis Sutton, Director of ISHKA Irish Spring Water.
“Due to their current design and size, caps are much more likely to be littered – and while this may seem like a small problem, they are one of the top five most commonly found items of litter on beaches worldwide.
“A simple design change that keeps caps attached to bottles means they are much more likely to be recycled with the bottle, hence our early move to launch tethered caps well ahead of the EU Directive deadline.”
Recent research from ISHKA, through iReach, shows many consumers are embracing the green message, with half of all respondents saying the type of water they buy is influenced by whether bottles can be recycled after use.
A separate study by PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that around 1,350 bottling lines EU-wide will need to be prepared to handle tethered caps.
“As a company, we’re continually committed to product innovation and differentiation with sustainability at the core,” said Mark Taylor, Head of Operations, ISHKA Irish Spring Water.
“Over the summer we invested substantially in tooling up our machines and adapting our production lines so that our 500ml bottles can be fully recycled from bottle through to the cap. And from early next year, our full range of bottle sizes will have tethered caps.”
Based in Ballyneety in Limerick, ISHKA Irish Spring Water lays claim to being Ireland’s freshest spring water as it is bottled straight from five certified wells, untouched by human contact and not stored prior to bottling.