Plastics and drinking water

Around 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year all over the world. To fight this waste of resources, it is important to use the most suitable technology and material to save food.  

Plastics, and particularly plastics packaging, provide numerous resource efficiency solutions to deliver food of the highest quality and with maximum shelf life to consumers. This ensures less waste, energy consumption and resources used.  

Here are some examples for innovative plastics packaging showing the sustainable benefits of this material and its contribution to reduce food waste.

  • Portable water purification system
    Clear water is still a luxury for many people all around the world. A new portable purification system made of plastics simplifies on-site conversion of large quantities of dirty water into potable water. The producer claims that due to its ultrafiltration plastic membranes, the product removes viruses and bacteria from dirty surface water and reduces the risk of contracting gastrointestinal illnesses. Read more...
    © LifeStraw
  • Water filter cap
    A newly invented plastics cap that can be screwed on to any bottle is able to filter the most unsafe waters and make them drinkable, argue its Swiss inventors. The cap made by a 24 year old student was primarily designed for people that do not have access to clean drinking water, as it is reliable, cheap and easy to use.

    © DrinkPure
  • Hydraulic wheel
    Observing that over 200 million people throughout the world have to walk many kilometres to access drinking water, a student invented a simple and innovative transportation tool that makes water more portable. The producer states that the plastics device can hold 75 litres of water, can be pushed or pulled, much like a suitcase, and enables the water to be kept longer.

    © WelloWater
  • Floating containers
    Plastics containers are now being used for the transport and storage of fresh water. They provide safe drinking water to islands and coastal communities that lack a regular water supply, especially during summer. This new system is 50 to 75% cheaper and more environmentally friendly than traditional transportation in tankers. The floating containers are part of an ongoing EU-funded project.

  • Water-producing wind turbine
    A start-up has recently designed a revolutionary wind turbine that is capable of producing water by sucking in the air and converting water vapour into its liquid state. Thanks to plastics, the filters are easily removable and washable and the electronic components are effectively isolated.

    © EoleWater
  • Water purification pyramids
    A novel water-sustainability project makes use of simple technology to process clean drinking water out of salt, brackish or polluted water. The system consists of pyramid-shaped structures made of transparent plastics that cleans water using sun energy. The developers say that it is possible to produce up to 2 litres of water per m² per day in tropical regions.

    © AAWS
  • Fog collectors
    Fog collectors are nets made of plastics that collect the water in the fog, which then runs into troughs and is stored in tanks. They were first installed in Chile, one of the driest countries in the world. Fog collecting is a totally passive process, using no pumps or electricity.

    © Fog Quest
  • Sea water treatment plant
    A seawater desalinisation plant has been recently built in Ghana, a water-scarce coastal country. It uses a polymer filter to cause reverse osmosis and turn salty sea water into drinking water. The goal is to produce 600,000 cubic metres of drinking water every day, for about 500,000 people.

    © Gurit GmbH
  • Plastic pipes and water mains
    A petrochemical company developed a new plastics type intended for pipes and water mains applications. The material has important improvements in its mechanical properties, states the manufacturer: creep, impact strength and rapid crack propagation, and its durability is calculated at 100 years for pressure pipes.

    © Braskem
  • Fluoride removal filter
    The UNESCO-IHE fluoride removal family filter made of plastics is based on a locally available low-cost absorbent and has been claimed to effectively remove fluoride from drinking water. The filter is simple to operate, does not require electricity and can be produced locally.

    © Unesco IHE
Portable water purification system
Water filter cap
Hydraulic wheel
Floating containers
Water-producing wind turbine
Water purification pyramids
Fog collectors
Sea water treatment plant
Plastic pipes and water mains
Fluoride removal filter