How do Hoteliers Replace the One-Time Use Plastic Bottle for Water?

Main Photo: The best thing after sliced bread!

Date: January 2020

Location: Across the UK…and further afield in due course

Name: Eco for Life

What is the Answer: Glass bottles, Tap-water in carafes, ceramic or stainless steel containers, boxed or paper bottles, filtration systems via taps in each room…

And the Problem is: Sadly we have a glass shortage, at least in the UK (and elsewhere in Europe) ….The UK wine industry is running out of glass, creating unprecedented price hikes for bottlers and the situation is unlikely to be resolved in 2020. Trevor Lloyd, director of planning and procurement at Greencroft Bottling Company and Mark Lansley, chief executive at Broadland Wineries commented on the glass shortage situation in Harper’s magazine.

Trevor Lloyd said demand for glass bottles has been building up over the last few years as the spirits market, in particular, gin, boomed and then grew again as drinks consumption rose during the hot 2018 summer. While demand has been growing, bottle manufacturing capacity has stayed static or even declined when furnaces have to stop for periodic maintenance. So demand has started to exceed production capacity. And when this happens, the bottle manufacturers prioritise the production of spirits bottles as they have a higher profit margin than wine bottle production…or water.

There has been a massive increase in the demand for glass over the past 18 months and hence a shortage of supply across Europe. Some earlier furnace closures and several planned and unplanned furnace rebuilds have only exacerbated the issue. Manufacturers are working to resolve the issue, however a glass furnace can take several months to rebuild and even longer to construct new furnaces and production lines It is important to remember bottle manufacturing is run in campaigns and that a furnace may be required to undergo a colour change to produce the bottle required, hence lead times on certain bottles may be months, even in times of low demand.

Tap-water in Carafes…we have seen some top-class hotels adopt this practice, but it doesn’t suit all cultures..Middle-Eastern and Chinese guests are not sure of the quality of our tap-water, and difficult to offer it to the client at the right temperature.

And just when you thought it was safe to go back to tap-water, as I and most Londoners believe, a press report this week tells us that tap water contains chemicals – trihalomethanes – THMs,  a byproduct of a disinfectant, that can cause bladder cancer!

Researchers have quantified its effect, finding it to be responsible for 1,356 diagnoses a year, or 9.2 per cent of all cases of bladder cancer in the UK.

Across Europe, it causes 6,500 cases, just under 5 per cent of the total for the continent.

The average level of THMs in drinking water in all countries was well below the maximum possible limit in the EU

The study was conducted by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health and is published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

“Over the past 20 years, major efforts have been made to reduce THM levels. However, the current levels could still lead to a considerable bladder cancer burden, which could be prevented by optimising water treatment, disinfection and distribution practics,” said ISGlobal researcher Manolis Kogevinas.

It also exceeded the limit in Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

Ceramic or Stainless Steel.…cost and fragility – of ceramic…loss of the containers with guests taking them home!

Boxed or Paper Cartons…cost and only viable if you refill the bottles?

Filtration systems…great in new-build hotels, but even them a fair capital investment that can only be recouped in the room-rate.

So, The Solution: A UK company – Eco for Life may have come up with the solution…the bottle, cap and label are all 100% plant based, being created from a Polyatic acid (PLA), even the ink used on the label is vegetable oil. This means not only can the bottle be refilled, or a new water bottled issued and used safely (as it does not contain PET, BPA or phthalates, ensuring no hormone and toxic chemicals in the water) but at the end of its use it will biodegrade within 20 weeks in managed composting facilities.

The other highlights of this bottle include:

  • During the manufacturing process 60% less greenhouse gases are produced and 50% less fossil fuels are burnt than in comparison to the traditional single use PET plastic equivalent
  • It can be incinerated with no toxic gases produced
  • The crops used are to make the bottles are corn and are all certified GM free

The amount of corn used to make PLA is 0.04% of the annual global crop so there is no adverse strain on world food pricing and with a variety of alternative suitable plants that can be used in this process, there will never be any significant impact to one particular crop.

This Eco for Life bottle is the solution to PET alternatives that we have all been looking for. It can now be produced in high volume, it can be processed through a bottling plant and it behaves in many respects the same way as PET, only with significant environmental advantages.

And the Bottom Line: The company sell the bottles in cardboard cases holding 24 bottles and on a pallet which holds 50 cases. The cost is £16.00 per case and of course volume discounts apply based on annual requirements. This probably higher than larger hotels may be paying currently, but hey, you helping save the planet (including the oceans)!

…and the wording on the bottle can be used with the hotel branding to help your marketing. In time as production rises, the price will lower slightly, but plastic bottled-water will increase in price, if not become totally unacceptable to offer your guests.

THPT Comment: THPT is assisting Eco For Life in spreading the message and we would be happy to put you in touch with them to work-out if the product is right for you. Works for hotels, health-clubs, meeting rooms, offices, retail farm-shops et al.

First Seen: Eco for Life website

The Hotel Property Team (THPT) is a small group of highly experienced business professionals. Between us, we provide a range of skills and experience which is directly relevant to those involved in the hotel property market.

For more information – Visit or email