Cove launches biodegradable alternative to plastic water bottles


Way back in 2004, we reported on a corn-based water bottle called Biotathat was claimed to be 100 percent environment-friendly and would safely biodegrade in around 80 days. But most water in stores today still comes in bottles made from petroleum-based plastic. After drinking the contents, too many of these bottles become a pollution problem. Cove is looking to change that with the launch of its biopolymer-based water bottles.

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The Cove bottles are made from polyhydroxyalkanoate or PHA, an FDA-approved biopolymer that’s 100-percent compostable and breaks down into CO2, water and organic waste when it’s tossed in the garden compost bin to sent to municipal landfill. The company says that it will even safely break down in soil, fresh water, and the ocean.

Though the actual time to fully break down will vary depending on such things as ambient temperature and humidity, Cove has been undertaking extensive testing and reckons that – as a conservative estimate – the container will take about five years to biodegrade in soil, which the firm says “is one of the environments least conducive to biodegradation.”

But while it holds water, the Cove bottle works pretty much the same as regular plastic. For the Californian launch in May, the water within the PHA shell comes from natural springs in Palomar Mountain.

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“All Cove’s manufacturing, filling, and packing for the California launch happens in LA,” said Cove. “As Cove expands, we will set up multiple manufacturing and packing facilities across the US. This will allow us to localize production and minimize transportation. Cove is not interested in shipping bottled water across oceans and continents.”

As production costs are brought down, Cove intends to persuade the big players in the bottled water business to switch to its PHA bottles.

The shelf life of the bottle is reported to be six months, and customers needn’t necessarily throw the bottle away after draining it dry. It can be refilled up to the use by date.

A 500 ml bottle of Cove water is priced at US$2, with 12 packs for Californians currently up for pre-order direct from the company. As bottles are shipped out to stockists, location information will appear online.