The Great Water War between tap water and bottled water is an ongoing one. It seems that debates about the environmental effects of tap water and the impact of unrecycled plastic bottles will forever continue between environmental advocates and bottled water executives.

National Public Radio estimates that the number of gallons of bottled water consumed by the average American has grown from 1.5 gallons in 1976 to 30 gallons in 2008. A recent article on suggests that 88 percent of water bottles are not recycled, totaling a whopping 30 million per day. However, the article also suggests that the bottled water industry cannot be completely eliminated due to the use of bottled water in disaster relief, such as Haiti’s earthquake in January.

Does this leave us at an impasse? Is there no real environmentally safe alternative to tap water and bottled water?

Wait…up in the sky…it’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s……boxed water?

A new company, Boxed Water Is Better, LLC, launched in Grand Rapids, MI last year. The company describes itself as “part sustainable water company, part art project, part philanthropic project and completely curious.” Boxed Water Is Better returns its customers to the age of the milk carton, with a simple vintage look composed of 76 percent renewable material. The boxes can be broken down into their original flat state and recycled through most recycling centers. To check if cartons are recyclable in your area, visit The Carton Council’s website.

Boxed Water Is Better also chooses to be directly involved with environmental efforts related to its product. The company has committed 10 percent of its profits to water relief foundations and another 10 percent to reforestation foundations. Boxed Water Is Better is growing, placing boxed water in hotels, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and local markets in Michigan, Chicago and Southern California.

Ultimately, Boxed Water Is Better hopes to provide an environmentally safe alternative to bottled water drinkers while also supporting environmental relief. Maybe boxed water could be the super-hero peacemaker we’ve all been waiting for in the Great Water War.