Drink in a Box

First milk, then wine; now, water comes in a carton

Nothing draws the ire of environmentalists like bottled water. But is all packaged water really that bad? Two new brands of water in a box suggest it may be less about the product and more about the plastic or glass.

The idea behind Boxed Water Is Better is as straightforward as its name: By selling water in a carton instead of a bottle, the Michigan-based company decreases its environmental impact, reduces its packaging costs and waste, and generates enough profits to donate 20 percent to environmental charities (once start-up costs have been covered). Each carton is made from 85 percent renewable materials and contains carbon-filtered, purified water from Minnesota. Currently, BWIB is available only in Michigan, but expansion plans are in the works.

Like Boxed Water, Plant It Water is committed to offering feel-good incentives to hydrators. No, the Tetrapak carton isn't plantable in the traditional sense, but it is made from 64 percent renewable materials, which means it'll break down a lot faster than plastic. And for each box it sells, Plant It will make good on its name by planting a new tree. The water is rolling out at festivals and events across the country; look for cartons to hit store shelves within the year.