Frequently asked questions
- How popular is bottled water in Slovenia and elsewhere?
If, a few decades ago, one could not imagine buying bottled water and ordering it in bars, this is a usual occurrence today.
The sale of bottled water, globally as well as domestically, is increasing. The consumption and production of bottled water increased by 18% in EU countries from 2002 to 2007, and in 2007, it reached 51.6 billion litres. In Slovenia, in the aforementioned period, we recorded the consumption and production growth by 9%, from 103.4 million litres in 2002 to 112.8 million litres in 2007, whereby bottled water of greater volumes – more than 10 litres – is not taken into account.
- What is the reason for greater popularity of bottled, and especially natural, mineral waters?
Drinking bottled water is gaining wider and wider dimensions. On one hand, this phenomenon is due to greater awareness of the polluted living environment and, consequently, of the effect on drinking water or tap water quality, and on the other hand, of better awareness of healthy diet and greater care for health.
Natural mineral waters are a logical choice: they meet the highest standards within the bottled water category and are an excellent combination of water and dissolved minerals with carbon dioxide bubbles or without them.
- Why is natural mineral water a first-rate water in the category of bottled waters?
Anywhere in the world, natural mineral waters are the highest rated because they rise from the depths of underground, which are protected from contamination; ultimate purity is assured, along with constant natural content of minerals; the quality is monitored and various procedures to improve the chemical or microbiological image are not allowed; the water is also officially recognized by the competent ministry. Such approval is not required for spring waters; some parameters that apply for spring water must be in accordance with the Rules on drinking water, whereas natural mineral waters must be completely in accordance with the Rules on natural mineral water, spring water and table water (OG, RS 50/2004, 75/2005). Table waters can be mixed out of different types of water; adding substances is authorised.
- Glass or Polyethylene terephthalate bottles, this is now the question
Even 20 years ago, glass prevailed over all other packaging of bottled water, especially natural mineral waters. Multipurpose handiness and requirements of a modern consumer lead to the producers of bottled water being forced to use polymeric material for packaging; today Polyethylene terephthalate or PET is most widely used. In 2006, the proportion of bottled water for which PET was used amounted to 83.2% in EU countries, in comparison to 2001, when that percentage was 71.2%. Lately, the development of PET technology was focused on improvements of material regarding the permeability for gases and thermal stability. Due to the losses of carbon dioxide in natural mineral waters through a PET bottle, natural mineral waters in PET packaging have a shorter durability than those bottled in glass.
On the other hand, glass, by its chemical structure, is very inert (no migration of substances from the glass into the product and vice versa), therefore it does not affect the quality and the taste of the water. Glass packaging is relatively simple and manageable in the process of returning bottles and their re-use, because it can withstand high temperatures (up to 85°C) and treatment with chemical substances. A disadvantage of glass packaging is in its fragility and weight, which increases the costs of transportation.
In non-returnable PET, the production process is friendlier for the environment (washing process not applicable) and for the personnel in the filling line (less noise, cleaner production – bottles are not broken). PET bottles are also very light and, consequently, the costs of transportation are lower. PET material can be easily recycled and used in different areas (construction, textile industry, etc.) or can be used as a constitutional part of granulate for production of PET pre-form or plastic bottles.
- Which water is better? Tap or bottled?
This is the question usually posed by citizens in various countries.
Tap water is surely cheaper, but very often contaminated due to negligent behaviour that people have towards the environment. Unfortunately, this is also the case in Slovenia. Tap water here is no longer drinkable in some areas.
According to the statement of the Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Slovenia, which, inter alia, monitors the water from pipelines, we have about 100 waterworks registered in Slovenia; most of them are small, which means that they supply water to 50 inhabitants. Water in small waterworks is often of bad quality and inappropriate, microbiologically speaking. On average, every second glass of water taken from smaller waterworks is microbiologically inappropriate. Tap water is often contaminated with pesticides, nitrates and other harmful substances, because protection of water resources is far from satisfying.
Often, these problems are caused by old waterworks made of inappropriate materials from which the harmful substances may enter the water.
In addition to that, some procedures for processing tap water are allowed, including through physical means and through adding chemical substances for disinfection, whereby many harmful compounds occur. These processes deteriorate organoleptic characteristics of drinking water and may allow harmful substances to enter the water, which is not checked during drinking water control.
- How does natural mineral water emerge?
The characteristics of natural mineral water are directly connected to its origin. Despite the possibility of large differences among them, especially concerning their chemical characteristics, all natural mineral waters in the classic meaning of the word have one common feature: high content of minerals, which is usually much higher than in regular waters. In the past, natural mineral water was, by definition, water in which the content of dissolved matter was higher than 1000 mg/L; however, in line with the current legislation, natural mineral waters may contain fewer minerals.
The origin of natural mineral waters depends most of all on several geological conditions, characteristics and petrographic characteristics of rocks. When all favourable conditions for the creation of mineral waters are met, what is of essential importance is the speed or the slowness of water flow in the depths of its making. The flow has to be as slow as possible, so that the water can be in contact with rocks for a sufficiently long period. Therefore, hydrogeological and hydrochemical conditions and the situation of the natural system are of utmost importance. High pressure and long periods of water flow in the underground are the key factors for the creation of natural mineral water. The true natural mineral waters are in fact very old.
- The label says "natural mineral water". Is there "unnatural" mineral water?
The Rules on natural mineral water, spring water and table water (Official Gazette of the RS 50/2004, 75/2005) define many requirements that have to be fulfilled by water so that it can be named and marketed as natural mineral water. The "natural mineral water" label stresses the fact that the water is of natural origin, that it is filled at source and that it is not industrially produced. The minerals contained by the water are present "in the natural way", gained on the way through underground layers of rock.
- Where do the minerals in natural mineral water come from?
Natural mineral waters were emerging through centuries from the depths of one hundred or even one thousand metres. Under the influence of high temperature and pressure, water that is in contact with rocks begins to dissolve them and, in this way, it is enriched with minerals. The content of minerals or the rate of mineralization is influenced by the characteristics of rocks, the period that the water has spent underground, temperature, pressure and the depth of waterways. The dissolving is more intense in the presence of carbon dioxide.
- Where does the carbon dioxide in natural mineral waters come from?
Natural minerals waters from Radenska contain their own carbon dioxide, which means that it is of natural origin and comes from underground – the same as natural mineral water.
Isotopic measures show several sources of carbon dioxide in the Earth's interior:
- as a consequence of magmatic transformations, i.e. the so-called volcanic or juvenile CO2,
- in the decomposition of carbonates,
- in the decomposition of organic matter.
- Does the name natural mineral water mean that it contains carbonation?
Absolutely not! Natural mineral water can also be still or non-aerated. The content of carbonation is connected with the content of minerals. Non-aerated waters usually have a lower content of dissolved minerals, while aerated waters have a higher content.
- What is the meaning of carbonation in natural mineral waters?
Carbonation in natural mineral waters has several more important functions besides having an invigorating effect. Among other things, it makes it possible for the dissolved minerals in natural mineral water to stay in the dissolved form and thus, more easily available to the human body.
A comparison between natural mineral water with carbonation and without showed that in the case of carbon dioxide content, cell membranes are more permeable, increasing the transfer of minerals in the body.
Carbon dioxide in the mouth cleans taste buds, accelerates circulation and stimulates the production of saliva, thus freeing the mouth of unwanted food remains, which accelerate the emergence of tooth decay. Consequently, our tongue is more sensitive to the differences and quality of food flavours.
It must be stressed that all natural mineral waters from Radenska contain their own carbon dioxide, which means that it is of natural origin and comes from underground – the same as natural mineral water.
- The offer of natural mineral waters is wide. Which should I choose?
The offer of natural mineral waters or bottled waters is admittedly wide. Natural mineral waters differ according to their mineral content as well as carbon dioxide content, which is dependent on a series of factors deep under the earth’s surface, where natural mineral water emerges. Consequently, each natural mineral water has a unique taste.
The natural mineral water label states the main ingredients of an individual natural mineral water. Labels such as "higher calcium content" and "higher magnesium content" are frequent, which make it easier to select among the wide range of natural mineral waters.