In a recently published blog post called ‘The End is the Beginning“, the Thankyou team announced it will no longer be selling its branded water in plastic bottles.
Addressing what the team calls “the elephant in the room”, the company writes: “We, Thankyou; an organisation that exists to help change the world, sell single-use plastic bottled water”.
In the blog post, the team announced, that effective immediately, Thankyou would cease production of its bottled water and that all bottles that remain on supermarket and service station shelves will be the last. The reason why? “Bottled water is a ‘silly product’ and that it shouldn’t exist”.
When it was founded 12 years ago, Thankyou’s hero product was its bottled water. The company sought to take on Australia’s $600 million water bottle industry by providing a more conscious alternative to the big companies. One that would give back instead of line investor’s pockets, and help solve the world water crisis by funding clean water projects in developing countries.
And it worked — by choosing Thankyou products over other brands, the team and its consumers have been able to positively impact 871,000 lives, and deliver over $6 million to its partners who would use those funds to support causes in combat of extreme poverty.
The rapid growth also allowed the company to branch out into other revenue streams with new conscious product alternatives, including baby care products, nappies, and beauty and bathroom goods.
But the company could no longer in good conscious continue in the production of its water bottles, even after trying as hard as they could to reduce the environmental impact of production and packaging.
“We naively always thought we’d eventually find a solution that’s a win-win for humanity and the planet. We were wrong,” the team says in the post.
According to the blog post, the crew tried a number of “responsible-ish solutions”, from reducing plastic and water waste in the production process and reducing the amount of plastic that makes up the bottles, to pivoting to biodegradable materials and boxed vessels, but every effort felt no better than greenwashing, the team said.
“Every new step sounded better and more palatable, it would tick a ‘green box’. But, the deeper we looked, and the more we considered the life cycle of the alternatives, we realised it wasn’t actually any better for the environment.
“These realisations have left us facing reality. To reduce the impact that single-use bottled water has on the planet, well, we have no other option but to leave it behind.”
The company has not ruled out reintroducing a water product down the line, however, they assure the product will look different, and will absolutely be created and produced with both the planet and its people in mind.
For now, Thankyou encourages all of us to eschew single-use plastic water altogether, and instead seek out a tap, which in Australia, grants us clean water. It’s a luxury not found everywhere in the world.
As for how Thankyou will move forward without its water? Well, the company still has the same big plans to end global poverty. Thankyou’s water, while a large part of the business intially, made up just one of 55 products currently available under the Thankyou umbrella.
In addition to committing 100% of its profits from those goods, the team are also looking to launch new products with plastic-free packaging within its personal care range.
Thankyou says: “To get to where we are headed, we know that sometimes we must take action and challenge (even our very own!) systems, structures, and ways of doing stuff. This is not the end, it is just the beginning.”