Eco-friendly bottled water debuts

LAWRENCEVILLE - A new type of bottled water is rolling into one Gwinnett grocery store today, hoping to quench the thirst to protect the environment.

BIOTA Colorado Pure Spring Water will appear in greater Atlanta Publix grocery stores through August, with more stores getting into the mix after that.

Consumers will pay $1.89 for a liter, $.99 cents for a half liter.

Unlike conventional petroleum-based plastic bottles that never decompose, BIOTA bottles are made with a corn-based polymer. The material breaks down in landfills in about 75 days, according to a press release issued by BIOTA Tuesday.

The Colorado-based company, which has already put its product on the market in such states as California and Texas, is making its first entry into the Southeast. CEO David Zutler, who formed the company in 1993, began looking into the possibility of an environmentally friendly bottle for his spring water a few years ago.

While bio-based products such as forks and plates are nothing new, BIOTA has the first environmentally safe water bottle, Zutler said. It comes on the market as consumers are paying more attention to soaring oil prices and the effect at the gas pump.

"Everyone wants to make a difference, but not everyone knows how," Zutler said. "This product allows you to make that difference."

Bottled water is a competitive industry, but it's also tough on the environment. Consumption of bottled water has doubled in the past few years, leaving about 40 million water bottles that end up in the trash every day, according to the Container Recycling Institute.