Plastics and Drinking Water

Water is too valuable to be wasted. Plastics provide numerous solutions for ensuring water sustainability, from pipes used in water transportation, to irrigation drippers, reservoirs and greenhouses enabling agricultural water supply, or bottles and filters providing access to drinking water.

The Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe of the European Commission highlights water as one of the strategic resources affected by competing demands in Europe. The plastics industry contributes to resource efficiency by providing

  • plastic solutions for sustainable water supply and use.
  • cutting-edge technology to preserve drinking water.

On a daily basis, we all rely on a safe and constant supply of drinking water. Sustainable water transportation, even over long distances, needs to be leak-free, avoiding corrosion, soil or bacterial contamination. Plastic pipes meet these requirements. Water supply is also a big challenge in agriculture: Farmers need access to water, even more in areas where rains are not very frequent. Plastic materials are the key to innovative and sustainable solutions such as drippers, which supply the plant with the right quantity of water and ensure that no water is wasted.

Another important issue the world faces is water quality: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), yearly 1.8 million people die from diarrheal illnesses and more than one billion people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water. Plastics offer both easy access to water, for example through plastic bottles, as well as effective solutions to clean water.

PAGEV presents a series of new and innovative water applications made of plastics, which show the continuing contribution of plastics to water management, preservation and sustainable supply.

Portable water purification system
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.

Water filet cap
Water filet 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
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
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. 

© AIMPLAS

Water-producing wind turbine
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
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

Plast Eurasia 23-26 November 2022
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