WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES?
Less than 30% of plastic bottles are recycled in the United States, due to a combination of murky recycling requirements, local limitations and many simply not choosing to recycle. The other 70% end up in landfills or as plastic pollution, scattered in the natural environment.
Plastic doesn’t biodegrade. It can take thousands of years for plastic to break down, releasing toxic chemicals into the earth and disintegrating into tiny particles in the process. These microplastics then end up everywhere from the air to our food. Our plastic consumption has become so staggering that the average person now ingests up to five grams of microplastics each week — roughly the equivalent of a credit card.
WHAT IS COVE’S BOTTLE MADE OF?
Instead of plastic, Cove’s bottles, cap included, are made of a naturally-occurring and biodegradable biopolymer called PHA. The label is made of cellulose and biodegradable adhesive.
WHAT IS PHA?
PHA stands for polyhydroxyalkanoate. It is an FDA-approved, naturally-occurring biopolymer. It’s biodegradable, compostable, and produces zero toxic waste as it breaks down into CO₂, water, and organic waste. PHA will biodegrade whether it ends up in compost or a biologically-active landfill, as well as in soil, fresh water or the ocean.
PHA is produced by microorganisms through a fermentation process, similar to how beer or yogurt is made. PHA can be used to make durable packaging that functions like regular plastic, but without the devastating environmental impacts.
WHAT DOES “BIODEGRADABLE” MEAN?
Biodegradable means something can be consumed or otherwise broken down by (micro)organisms into organic materials found in nature, without harming the environment.
PHA, the material used in Cove bottles, breaks down into CO₂, water and organic waste in natural, biologically-active environments.
HOW LONG DOES A COVE BOTTLE TAKE TO BIODEGRADE?
The time it takes for something to biodegrade depends on many variables, such as ambient temperature, humidity and microbial load, which is defined as the number and type of microorganisms present.
Cove is currently conducting extensive testing to provide accurate time frames across a range of environments. Right now, the most conservative estimate is that a Cove bottle will take a maximum of five years to biodegrade in reasonable conditions.
HOW IS COVE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER PLASTIC ALTERNATIVES?
All other alternatives to plastic water bottles — aluminum and mixed paper bottles, for example — are, in part, made of nonrenewable metals or synthetic plastics, and sometimes both. These materials are not sustainable long-term. They don’t biodegrade, and the small percentage that is recycled often ends up in landfills or in the natural environment the next time it’s disposed of. Recycling merely delays the inevitable, harmful effects of certain materials. It can’t be looked at as a catch-all solution.
In comparison, the PHA in Cove’s bottles is entirely biodegradable. It breaks down into elements that are already found in the natural environment. It’s designed to disappear.
WHAT IS THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF A DISCARDED COVE BOTTLE VS. A SINGLE-USE PLASTIC BOTTLE?
Plastic bottles and other similar single-use products take thousands of years to disintegrate. The chemicals in plastics are well-documented and have numerous toxic effects on human and animal life alike. The gradual accumulation of these chemicals in our food chain is dangerous, and the presence of microplastics in almost every living being and corner of the earth risks compounding the issue.
The PHA used in Cove bottles biodegrades entirely and will re-enter the natural ecosystem as CO₂, water, and organic waste. The human body naturally produces PHA, and as such PHA doesn’t contain any toxins that could harm humans or animals.
WHAT IS THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF PRODUCING A COVE BOTTLE?
The most significant environmental impact for consumer goods happens during manufacturing and distribution. All of Cove’s manufacturing, filling, and packing for our California launch will occur in the Los Angeles area to localize production, minimize transportation, and any other subsequent impact. As Cove expands, we will set up manufacturing and packing facilities to accommodate additional markets with the same care. Cove will never ship bottled water across oceans or continents to reach you.
Manufacturing and distribution partners are carefully selected to uphold the highest environmental standards. Wherever possible, Cove utilizes renewable energy and carbon offsetting, in addition to driving other environmental stewardship programs.
IS COVE FDA APPROVED?
All of Cove’s materials are food-contact approved.
WHAT IS THE SHELF-LIFE OF A COVE BOTTLE? CAN I REFILL IT?
We expect the shelf-life of a Cove bottle to be more than one year and are currently testing to provide a more exact time frame. We encourage you to refill and reuse your Cove bottle up to the use-by date.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY COVE BOTTLE WHEN I’M FINISHED WITH IT?
When you’re ready to dispose of your Cove bottle, putting it in a compost bin is best, because it will biodegrade the fastest in this specific environment. Or place your Cove bottle in the trash. (Remember, you can refill the bottle up to the use-by date. It doesn't have to be single-use.)
For now, avoid putting Cove bottles in recycling bins. While PHA is a recyclable material, current waste processes don’t yet accept it as such. We’re working with local governments and waste management companies to include PHA in functional recycling streams in the future.
WHERE CAN I BUY COVE?
Cove will launch with select California retailers later this spring. Locations will be shared via Cove’s website as soon as they’re available. New York and other cities will be soon to follow.
HOW MUCH DOES COVE COST?
Cove's suggested retail price is $2.29 per bottle.
WHERE IS COVE’S WATER FROM?
For Cove’s California launch, water will be still water sourced in Los Angeles from a local aquifer fed by the Sierra Nevada mountains. In the past century, this aquifer has never had to supplement from other sources due to drought or earthquakes. (We are aware of California’s tendency to experience periods of drought and will proactively shift sources to avoid any undue environmental stress, if necessary.)
As we expand, Cove will set up sourcing close to each new manufacturing region to minimize our carbon footprint.
WHERE ARE COVE BOTTLES MANUFACTURED? WHERE IS COVE HEADQUARTERED?
All of Cove’s operations take place in the Los Angeles area. Cove’s headquarters are in Venice, California.
WHY NOT WORK WITH AN EXISTING COMPANY THAT’S PRODUCING PLASTIC BOTTLES?
The main producers of single-use plastic bottles are huge corporations focused on profit. For them, the cost of making plastic bottles is minuscule, thanks to economies of scale and decades-long technological development — much lower than the cost of producing a Cove bottle.
At Cove, our plan is to optimize production and, in turn, prove that a PHA bottle can be profitable at scale and convince corporations to reassess their own practices.
With Cove, the first water bottle made entirely of biodegradable material, we can replace the plastic water bottle altogether. We can show that it’s possible to end our reliance on plastic.
HOW CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
For information, contact us here.