Cove, the California-based material innovation company, launched the first biodegradable water bottles last week in partnership with Erewhon, the Los Angeles premium organic grocer. Cove bottles look like any ordinary plastic water bottles but are plastic-free, biodegradable, renewable, non-toxic, and compostable. They are made with a sustainably sourced, naturally occurring biopolymer called PHA.
“Plastic water bottles have become the emblem of our modern pollution crisis,” said Alex Totterman, founder and CEO of Cove. “By bringing a truly biodegradable alternative to plastic to customers and the industry as a whole, we can begin to reduce plastic waste in our communities.”
The plastic water bottles biodegrade in all natural environments – fresh water, soil, and marine environments – and breaks down without producing any toxic waste.
“The plastic water bottle is the poster child of plastic pollution,” says Alex Totterman, Cove’s founder and CEO. “We believe that creating a real solution for the 1 million bottles discarded every minute will begin to demonstrate that it’s possible to solve the global plastics problem.”
Cove relies on sustainable and ethical practices throughout its production process. Their supplies are 100% North American; they use minimal shipping, refrain from sourcing water from drought-stricken areas, and grant employees full respect and generous benefits.
Cove will be targeting customers who arguably could be convinced to carry a reusable water bottle instead. (You could also go further and say that everyone could switch to reusable bottles, other than in places where tap water is contaminated.) At a premium cost—$2.99 per bottle—the market for Cove’s product may be limited. But the hope is to scale up and begin to displace conventional bottled water.
Right now, if one of the 500 billion-plus plastic bottles made this year reaches a lake or ocean, fragments of the plastic could last for decades or possibly even centuries. But Totterman expects Cove’s PHA bottle to fully degrade in less than five years in the environment.