STOKES BLOG Plastic Pollution

Say NO to the SINGLE USE plastic bottle

Reuse, Recycle and Refill

Since 1902, Stokes Tea & Coffee have remained a family run business that is concerned for the future, respect the environment and buy responsibly. Buying better and inspiring change in our people, our partners, our customers, our community and our business.

Taking responsibility for the impact of our own operations, we support all campaigns that aim to make our communities and cities plastic water bottle free. Plastic pollution is destroying marine life, entering the food chain and ultimately our bodies.

If you buy bottled water because you don’t like the taste and smell of tap water then PLEASE RECONSIDER – filter your tap water instead and buy a reusable bottle.

Around the world, people buy 1 million plastic bottles each minute or 20,000 per second and most of them will either end up in a landfill or the ocean. Less than 50% of these are collected for recycling and only 7% of those are turned into new bottles.

The demand for plastic continues to grow but its durability – the key characteristic that makes plastic so popular – is also the reason why it is so widespread in the oceans. Plastic debris in our oceans is emerging as a new, truly global challenge and one that requires a response at local, national and international levels.

The people behind Blue Planet 2 say there was rarely a time when they were filming that they didn’t come across plastic in the sea.

Nearly 700 marine species have been reported to either ingest and/or become entangled in plastic. The effects can be fatal and experts warn that some of it is already finding its way into the human food chain.

Plastics contain chemicals (added to increase their durability) that, when eaten, leach out and disrupt normal hormonal function. Manufacturers often add different chemicals to plastics to give them the exact characteristics they’re looking for, like flexibility, strength, and reduced production cost. These components can include phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) — all of which alter hormone expression in animals and humans.



A classification system called the Resin Identification Code describes the type of plastic resin used to make a container or bottle ranging from #1 to #7.

PET, PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

Properties: Clarity, barrier to gas and moisture, heat resistant, toughness
Used for: Clear soft drink and beverage bottles, food packaging

  • Considered safe although repeated use can increase risk of leaching and bacterial growth and difficult to decontaminate

HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)

Properties: Stiff plastic – Toughness, resistance to moisture and chemicals, ease of processing
Used for: Detergent and cosmetic bottles, industrial wrapping and film, sheets, plastic bags

  • Low hazard – Re-usable, recyclable and no-leaching.

PVC (Polyvinyl chloride)

Properties: Soft and flexible – Versatility, toughness, resistance to grease, oil and chemicals
Used for: Cleaning product bottles, packaging film, credit cards, plumbing pipes

  • Known as poison plastic as contains numerous toxins that leach chemicals. NOT recommended for reuse for food, beverages or children.

LPDE (Low-density polyethylene)

Properties: Toughness, flexibility, ease of sealing, barrier to moisture
Used for: Cling film, plastic bags, flexible containers and food wrap

  • Low Hazard – Reusable but not always recyclable

PP (Polypropylene)

Properties: Strength, toughness, versatility, barrier to moisture
Used for: Yoghurt and margarine pots, sweet and snack wrappers, medical packaging, shampoo bottles

  • Considered safe to reuse

PS (polystyrene)

Properties: versatility, insulation, clarity, easily formed – sometimes called styrofoam
Used for: Disposable cups, cutlery, food boxes, packaging foam, egg cartons

  • Avoid – in high heat it can leach styrene, a probable carcinogen

Other (BPA, Polycarbonate)

Properties: Catch all for other plastics, properties dependent on chemical make up
Used for: Baby bottles, CD’s, number plates, storage containers.

  • It is recommended to avoid #7 plastics, especially for storing food and liquid. The main issue is the hormone disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA).

Bottled Water Truths

Globally we drink more packaged water than we do milk or beer. Today, bottled water is the second largest seller to carbonated drinks.

The growth in the water beverage market has been driven by consumers worried about tap water quality, the health impact of sugary drinks and the bottled water companies promising a purer, healthier water product.

Clearly, the bottled water industry is here to stay, but is the price of bottled water really worth it? Do you get a better water product for your money and is it really safer than tap water?

Is bottled water SAFER than tap water?

In 1999, the National Resources Defence Council (NRDC) published the results of a 4 year study in which researchers tested more than 1000 samples of 103 brands of bottled water.

An estimated 25% or more of bottled water was really just tap water in a bottle, sometimes treated, sometimes not. One fifth of the brands tested positive for the presence of harmful, synthetic chemicals used in the manufacturing of plastic. In the USA, bottled water is defined as a ‘food’ and is regulated by the authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates tap water and mandate that local water treatment plants provide city residents with a detailed account of tap water’s source and the results of any testing, including contaminant level violations.

These tests for harmful microbiological content in tap water happen several times a day and reveal where the water comes from, how it is treated and what contaminants it may contain.

Bottled water companies have no such directives and only test for these microbes once a week – a significant number of bottles have undergone almost no regulation or testing.

Bottled water, due to several factors, is clearly not a healthier or purer alternative to tap water. Tap water is plainly the more economical, and in many cases, the healthier choice.

Despite this, tap water does not remain without its problems and the concerns over the quality and safety of tap water that sparked the growth of the bottled water industry are still present.

Tap water is nowhere free from contaminants and the most recent and innovative solution to the problems of low water quality has come about in the age of water filters.

Water filters remove more dangerous contaminants than any other purification method, and they are uniquely designed to work with tap water. The water they produce is not subject to phthalate contamination and they are able to remove cryptosporidium (a chlorine-resistant parasite) from drinking water, a feat that neither water treatment plants nor bottled water companies have yet managed.

Better Tasting Water

Whilst chlorine is used to kill off bacteria and other microbes in drinking water, it can also affect both the taste and smell of tap water.

Great for Growing Kids

Chlorine and lead are both pollutants, among others, found in drinking water. Providing children with purer drinking water offers them a great start in life in terms of the mental and physical development, particularly as their immune systems are developing.

Saves You Money

If you purchase bottled water, one of the key benefits of a water filter is that it will pay for itself and start saving you money very quickly.

Protects Immune System

Tap water often contains numerous organic and inorganic contaminants, from arsenic and fluoride to chlorine and a host of other unhealthy toxins, such as pesticides and industrial chemicals. Whilst water companies test rigorously for a whole range of factors, some toxins are unregulated, and others, whilst monitored and kept to a minimum, still exist in tap water. Long-term exposure to these contaminants can weaken your immune system therefore, filtering your water helps to avoid the build-up of these toxins in your body.

Healthier Water

By removing the chlorine and its by-products from drinking water, you are avoiding any potentially harmful substances that could have adverse health effects.

Since filtered water negates the need to buy bottled water to consume at home, a water filter means less plastic bottle waste, making them a sustainable choice. Even if you tend to buy bottled water on the go, using a portable glass water bottle filled with filtered water from home is a far more eco-friendly and sustainable option.