Canned water, an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bottles

Jan Strydom with his daughter Danielle Strydom, 22, founder of Boxy Water Potchefstroom.

  • A North West family presented Potchefstroom with eco-friendly, 100% recyclable cardboard boxes called Boxy Water.
  • Boxy Water is made from Cardboard sleeves which are thick boxes with a thin layer of plastic strong enough to pack liquids.
  • Jan and Danielle Strydom are the founders of Boxy Water in Potchefstroom.

Father and daughter duo Jan and Danielle Strydom have always had an entrepreneurial spirit.

The two from Potchefstroom in the North West started a packaged water bottle business a few years ago.

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In 2019, realizing that the world was shifting to more environmentally friendly products and services, they ditched the use of plastic bottles and instead opted for 100% recyclable cardboard boxes for their water.

Jan said that after realizing the impact of plastic bottles on the environment, they realized it was important to make Boxy Water recyclable. The company was launched in 2020.

    A diagram of boxy water and its properties.  Source

A diagram of boxy water and its properties. Source: Terry Van DeWalt.

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“These plastic bottles have very strong plastic, which means they are not biodegradable and are unable to break down, which then increases the risk of pollution.”

He added that a younger and more environmentally conscious market has also made the move inevitable.

“Younger people are more in tune with the environment, its needs and conservation; they are always looking for ways to improve our lifestyles in a way that benefits the environment.”

Cardboard sleeves, Jan said, were thick boxes with a thin layer of plastic strong enough to pack liquids. And that’s what they went with.

Outer boxes are common brown boxes used by Boxy Water to wrap cardboard boxes that have been filled with water.

PET plastic bottle near the Potchefstroom dam.  This

PET plastic bottle near the Potchefstroom dam. It takes years for these bottles to biodegrade because they are made of a very strong layer of plastic.

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Once the sleeves were delivered to the Potchefstroom factory, the real work began for Boxy Water, he added.

Jan said the water came from a borehole 500 meters from the farm, adding that after discovering it, the family sealed it off to limit contamination.

Once the water is pumped out, it is filtered and purified. Even with filtration and purification processes, the family chose a more environmentally friendly path.

Instead of using industrial chemicals, they use ozone, which is similar to chlorine, to purify the water.

The family intended to market their canned water to hotel chains, casinos and airlines.

The Covid-19 pandemic made things difficult and the company decided to target local businesses instead.

“We couldn’t go any further than Potchefstroom, so we decided to target places like cafes and restaurants, small cafes, supermarkets. Just to get the product there,” Danielle said.

She added that so far the business is doing well and they hope more people will switch to using eco-friendly products.

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