Securing supplies

How PET bottles help in emergencies

In a crisis, providing clean drinking water is a top priority. Plastic bottles are the means of choice here and provide help quickly. This is because the water in the lightweight and unbreakable plas-tic packaging can be transported directly to the place of use.

Plastic bottles demonstrate their value in everyday life and additionally in extreme situations: they allow people to be supplied with drinking water quickly – saving lives when supply structures have collapsed.

Ideal for mobile use
Natural disasters and conflicts dominate world events. Crises require immediate action, especially when it comes to water. Until drinking water treatment systems are installed on site, plastic bottles can be used to ease initial hardship. In addition, the hygienic and practical PET bottles are an essential element in decentralized water distribution – especially for remote areas and those that are difficult to access.

“Bottled drinking water is what makes the supply of clean, safe water possible in the first place in many regions and especially in crisis areas. In this way, drinking water can be stored, transported and made available quickly when needed. PET bottles are also a suitable concept: they are lightweight, safe, unbreakable and recyclable,” says Dr. Sieglinde St?hle, Scientific Director at the German Food Association. Plastic bottles are also suitable for supplying refugees who can only carry a small amount of weight with them.

The demand is high: in 2022, over 340 million people worldwide were in humanitarian need, 108.4 million refugees, there were 421 natural disasters and a total of 363 conflicts. Such as the war in Ukraine, which in the same year asked other countries for the delivery of drink-ing water and PET bottles to supply its population. To prepare for emergencies, the German Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance advises to keep two liters of liquid per person per day, which corresponds to 60 liters for a 10-day supply of drinks for a three-person household – which can be easily stored in 40 lightweight and stable 1.5-liter PET bottles and quickly and safely relocated if necessary.

Social plastic alleviates poverty
While PET bottles prove to be an essential part of the supply chain in acute crises, disadvantaged regions in developing and emerging countries can also benefit from plastic. In addition to the material benefits, the low production costs of plastic bottles make them accessible to socially disadvantaged parts of the population.

Plastic waste is also being discovered as a source of recyclable materials, offering income prospects. For example, in Mexico, where a recycling company with the involvement of a packaging manufacturer accepts used PET bottles from collectors for a fee – using its own trucks, among other things, to make up for the lack of infrastructure. A project that brings together waste disposal and poverty reduction. The same approach is pursued by plasticbank, where collected plastic waste can be exchanged for cash, everyday goods or services such as internet access and cell phone charging.

Drinking water is essential. According to the UN World Water Report 2022, 2.2 billion people do not have a direct supply of safe drinking water. And UNICEF states: In conflicts and crises, children are twice as likely to lack access to water. Plastic bottles can make an important contribution here.

Keywords:Natural disasters, Crises, hygene, UNICEFF, drinking water supply, PET