China banned imports of foreign plastic for recycling in January 2018. Too much contaminated waste was coming into the country, creating environmental hazards. Before the ban, 95% of recycled plastics from the EU and 70% from the US were sent to China for processing. In the past six months, Americans have been struggling to continue recycling programs across the country, as processing prices have jumped, and many facilities have stopped accepting many types of plastics. Rural and small town recycling programs are the hardest hit, and many are closing simply closing their sorting plants and redirecting that would-be recycled material to landfills. That means there is no longer a system to help alleviate the effects of the 1 million plastic water bottles sold globally every minute, but consumers aren’t giving up the convenience of bottled water anytime soon. Bottled water sales increased 7%, from 12.8 billion gallons in 2016 to 13.7 billion gallons in 2017 (the most recent year on official record), according to the International Bottled Water Association.
In response to this growing crisis, All Market Inc (AMI), the parent company of Vita Coco coconut water and RUNA energy drinks, launched a purified water packaged in eternally recyclable aluminum bottles in June, called Ever & Ever. Ever & Ever was conceived in collaboration between AMI and advocacy group Lonely Whale, as part of their Question How You Hydrate campaign, which advocates for the elimination of single-use plastic water bottles. Lonely Whale is known for their 2018 campaign Strawless in Seattle, which played a role in sparking the global backlash against plastic straws last year.
These eternally recyclable water bottles moved from conception to launch in four months, an unprecedented speed for product development. According to Jane Prior, All Market’s CMO, “we have the luxury of being able to move this fast. When Mike likes an idea, he wants it in the market yesterday.” They wanted to time the launch alongside Lonely Whale’s campaign, to aid the interests of both organizations. Lonely Whale needed a convenient option for consumers besides single-use plastics, something that could fill the gap when reusable options aren’t available or consumers won’t make the extra effort. “We are proud to promote Ever & Ever as a new alternative to single-use plastic water bottles that allows everyone to answer one simple call: No matter how you hydrate, do it without single-use plastic,” says Dune Ives, executive director of Lonely Whale. All Market is working to grow into a portfolio company in the better for you beverage sector, recently acquiring Runa energy drinks and now launching Ever & Ever to expand their portfolio.