Aquatabs Multipurpose Tablets

overall rating:

2

planets

Elizabeth Steel
6/22/2021
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Aquatabs Multipurpose Tablets are a type of water purification tablet, produced by Aquatabs, owned by the parent company Medentech. Their tablets are sold to the general public for outdoor pursuits activities, but Aquatabs are also involved with many NGOs. They are the main provider of UN Peacekeeping/Relief purification tablets, and (based on a quick comparison of prices) they appear to lower their prices for charitable causes. This suggests to me that the company is trying hard to have a positive social impact, and their contribution to subsidising water purification tablets is a great step towards achieving SDG 6 “Clean Water and Sanitation”. In 2018, Aquatabs was responsible for treating 30 billion litres of water across the world. Whilst I do think the company could do more to show how they are improving their efficiency in production, I think that this very simple product which is made in good working conditions is a really good product that seeks to achieve sustainability. I’d recommend this product to consumers, either for personal use or if they wished to donate through an NGO such as the UN, which distributes Aquatabs Multipurpose Tablets around the world to those who need them the most.

What it's made of:

1.5

The only listed active ingredient in Aquatabs Multipurpose purification tablets is Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate. Some of the products that go into making this chemical include Urea and Sodium Hydroxide, both of which are naturally sourced, and are renewable. It is therefore a fairly simple way of producing chlorine, which seems to be the key way of cleaning water. The main catch about this product is its environmental impact – the tablets should not be released into water streams, as it is said to be highly toxic to aquatic life.

How it's made:

1.75

The production of Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate which is the key active ingredient in the Aquatabs Multipurpose is a multistep process, which includes steps such as Pyrolysis of urea, which is very energy-intensive, as it requires heating up organic matter to high heats. There are also other steps such as filtration, which make the chemical process longer. Most of the other steps don’t seem to be particularly energy-intensive though, as they take place in room temperature conditions. Medentech has committed to promoting the efficient use of materials and resources, but their site and my wider research show no specific examples of how they are actually doing this. Whilst we must remember that similar processes are made in order to produce the chlorinated water we get out of a tap–meaning that they are comparable in this respect–the key difference is that Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate must be packaged very tightly to ensure that the tablets remain sealed. It does not say on the website which type of packaging the tablets themselves are stored in, but the external box is cardboard, which can be recycled in areas with adequate facilities.  

Who makes it:

2.25

The tablets are made in Ireland and distributed from Medentech’s centre there. Medentech has pledged to achieve high standards of worker treatment – they meet minimum standards and seek to go above and beyond according to their mission statement; however, I’d say there is a slight lack of transparency about how they go about doing this. Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate must be manufactured in strictly controlled scientific facilities to ensure product standards and avoid potentially harmful contaminants; consumers should note that this means these tablets are frequently produced a long way away from where they are used (eg. Shipping from Ireland to Africa), so this increases the carbon footprint. However, the commercial conditions required to produce this are not compatible with the infrastructure of certain countries, so this isn’t necessarily the fault of Aquatabs. However, whilst this is a substantial barrier, companies who strive to achieve true sustainability may do more to establish the required infrastructure in the target country, meaning that whilst they are reaching high standards in production, they could certainly go further.