Sustainable ShippingWorldwide

From thousands of plastic bottles to 0

Hatenboer-Water introduces Plastic Free @Sea, a smart solution to reduce plastic waste on board


Calculator shows owners and operators the cost, logistics and plastic savings of onboard, contact free, filtered water bottle filling stations.

Reducing plastic waste has become key in environmental protection, including in the shipping industry. Answering the needs of both fleet owners and society in general to take make this happen, Dutch water company Hatenboer-Water developed the Plastic Free @Sea concept. With this concept, and the technology behind it, shipowners can reduce the tens of thousands of plastic water bottles on board to virtually zero, saving cost and handling time as a bonus.

Hygienic hydration

The concept comprises of a contact free water bottle filling station, a filtration unit to guarantee quality drinking water and reusable bottles. Each water fountain features easy hands-free sensor activation, providing users with a sanitary, touchless bottle filling experience. The key components have an antimicrobial protection that inhibits the growth of mould and mildew. In addition, as crew members are often reluctant to drink tap water from the water tanks due to their past experience, Hatenboer-Water provides on- and offline training and information to get all crew acquainted with the ins and outs of the system.

Answer to crew concerns

Several regulatory bodies have laid down ambitious sustainability programmes. One of them, IMPA’s wish to reduce the onboard use of plastic bottles to zero by 2025. For this to happen, fleet owners have to overcome crew concerns about the quality of new drinking water systems. Hatenboer-Water acknowledges this and addresses it by providing each crew with visual information (posters, infographics), a digital magazine explaining the Plastic Free @Sea concept in (technical) detail, a practical manual and dedicated training if so desired. By design, the units are easy to maintain and the dispenser clearly indicates when filters need to be changed. Tests with first clients have shown that crew members quickly grow confident and even fond of drinking water from the tap.

Industry’s frontrunners

The Plastic Free @Sea concept is a response to growing demands from the industry, explains Mark Knoester, Hatenboer-Water’s Sales Manager Water Quality: “Several frontrunners in our industry like Wagenborg and ALP contacted us. These organisations are eager to reach their sustainability goals and are looking for ways to act on them. When COVID came in, we switched gear to adapt and introduce contact-free tap points fast. Altogether it was quite easy to implement the Plastic Free @Sea concept for these customers, as they actively monitor onboard water quality. For those who fear low-quality water in their tanks, we’ve added a 3-step filtration unit, including a reverse osmosis membrane. We can even do a risk assessment upfront to improve all water related assets on board. It all comes together: office staff likes the potential savings and the short return on investment, the fleet is happy with clean, good-tasting water.

Extra info

Online calculator

Thanks to its thorough knowledge of vessel lay-out and onboard water management, Hatenboer-Water has developed a free online calculator. It provides quick insights on potential savings, handling time and on the reduction in the amount of plastic water bottles. Try the calculator for yourself here (EUR/SGD/USD).

Crew trust

To gain crews’ trust in tap water, it needs to be of outstanding quality, i.e. purified, free of contaminants and re-mineralised. This has now been proven with the first vessels working with this concept. In addition, according to Wagenborg, their fleet already gained a reduction of 2.8 tons of plastic waste per year with Plastic Free @Sea.


Hatenboer-Water selected Elkay as the partner for the filling station as they have a proven track record worldwide in a wide variety of industries. The US based organisation was able to alter the configuration of the stations to the wishes of Hatenboer-Water to withstand the sometimes harsh conditions of their customer base. The robust wall mounted stainless filling station provides chilled water and a ticker informs the users of the number of plastic water bottles saved from waste. Hatenboer-Water is offering customisable stainless steel reusable bottles to close the circle. More info on Elkay can be found here.

To ensure the water is of top quality, Hatenboer-Water worked with Pentair and their Everpure MRS-225 CC Reverse Osmosis Unit. This system can dispense up to 850 litres per day. An initial filtration neutralizes taste and odor-causing contaminants. A reverse-osmosis phase then purifies the water removing dirt, particulates and dissolved minerals. This membrane-level filtering also provides a barrier to viruses and bacteria getting through. At a final stage, a calcite filter brings back some essential minerals which slowly mix with the water for optimum health and maximum taste. More on Pentair’s contribution in this article.

Plastic bottles by the numbers

Some numbers on the effects of using single use plastic water bottles. It takes up to 450 years to dissolve one plastic bottle and they will never resolve completely. The micro-plastics will have an lasting effect on our eco-system and are actually in an ‘unnaturally’ natural way migrating in our food chain. Another astonishing number: a million drinking water bottles are bought every minute. 80% of this huge amount of bottles will never be recycled. As we are targeting the maritime industry, it is alarming to see that about 10% of the bottles ends up in the ocean. Altogether, offering water in plastic bottles is the most costly and inefficient method in the history of mankind. Hatenboer-Water offers solutions and services, so plastic bottles on board are no longer needed.

Industry initiatives

See for example this IMPA article: IMPA | IMPA launches SAVE, its most ambitious sustainability…

This article is shared by courtesy of Hatenboer water. provide sustainable water of the right quality. Helping our clients from production to consumption

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