For the final week of Plastic Free July, we chatted with Director of projects and Commercial at Belu, Jan Roberts, about the changing face of the bottled water market. With a focus on circular economy, reducing carbon emissions and funding the provision of clean water, Belu pride themselves on doing better business.
There aren’t a lot of companies out there like Belu in terms of your approach and your mission, can you summarise it for us?
You’re right – it’s a unique business proposition and one that I’m incredibly proud to be involved with. The Belu story began with a simple idea. Through business, we can show the world that there is a better and smarter way to do business. We wanted to show that you can do more than just make money – you can help solve the world’s problems at the same time. At Belu, we are driven by our 4 values of purpose, people, product, and profit. The environment is core to our model so we don’t need it as a fifth pillar.
People might be surprised that a purpose led, sustainable company like yours is selling plastic water bottles, can you explain why it is in fact better than alternative materials?
Until such a time that Refillables can be used everywhere, we continue to sell a range of plastic in 100 rPET. This is the best material from an emissions point of view compared with all other material, have a look at our impact report for more details on the carbon footprint of rPET compared with other materials. By using recycled plastic, a circular economy is established by creating demand for used plastic.
It seems like other bottled water providers are moving towards recycled plastic, do you think real change is being made or are we being misled by the big brands?
I believe we are seeing real change by the big brands too. Belu started using 50% recycled PET in 2015 and moved to 100% in Jan 2020. The more recent step change towards recycled plastic is driven a myriad of factors: Blue Planet in 2018 increased consumer awareness immeasurably on the dangers of plastic in our oceans. With this heightened awareness and public backlash came greater responsibility. The onus fell to businesses and government to change consumer behaviour. With the introduction of the Plastic Tax in April 2022 comes a financial penalty for using any plastic that is less than 30% recycled. Ultimately, any form of financial comeuppance will drive significant action…
Are Belu doing anything to mark Plastic Free July?
We attended 4 events with our Belu Filtration horsebox. This provided Belu filtered water as a replacement for plastic bottled water at the 4 outdoor events. The events were a success and the Belu horsebox proved to be very popular.
What is next in the pipeline for Belu?
We continue to offer customers what they want but given both our environmental and social values, we continue to see huge growth and interest across all parts of our business. Filtration continues to see significant growth as customers aim to remove all single use items from sale. Mineral water continues to generate much interest with hospitality venues preferring to source more sustainably. Of course, our new mixer range is still new – but the eye-catching design, great taste alongside our credentials is proving to be popular.
Check out more about Belu’s purpose and their range of products here.