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Pure Water Aquapax Evolution

by Neil Tomlinson(more info)

listed in water, originally published in issue 236 - February 2017

The human body is mostly made of water and your body absolutely relies on water to function properly. Yet, how many of us are as discerning of the ‘natural’ quality of the water we consume and indeed, even spare a thought on its packaging?  I suspect (and I could be wrong) that the number of hands in the air would be few.  Well, with a little research and knowing where to look, it seems not all water is equal - nor is its packaging.

Neil Tomlinson

Well, now there is a choice - enter Aquapax in its stylish blue 500ml paper carton, the brainchild of self-confessed ‘activist’ Neil Tomlinson, who “grew-up on a beach, hating plastic!” A successful career in the UK led to a top job in a water utility company as Director of Innovation, only for Neil to decide to swim against the corporate tide.  The seed was sown when a saying from a work colleague shifted his thinking: “If it is to be it is up to me”.

Neil explained: “I came to develop Aquapax as an environmentalist and activist, seeing bottled water sales climbing exponentially year on year and the devastating impact of the ubiquitous plastic bottles on our planet.  I finally resigned my executive role to do something about it. My objective was to engage within the market as an ethics led competitor, offering consumers truly pure natural water, without chemical nitrates, in ecologically sensible packaging.

“Every year we read articles about bottled water being recalled for one reason or another and the accepted integrity of the plastic bottle as a package for still mineral water simply doesn’t apply when the bottles aren’t stored properly. Our cartons have a barrier film to keep the water fresh in an airtight, light free sealed environment. Our cartons keep the water cooler for longer too”.

New Style Aquapax Bottle

Neil’s Story - Creation and Development of Aquapax

I was on holiday with my wife and family when the ‘first’ Asian tsunami footage appeared on our TV back on 26 December 2004. The powerful images made me feel both guilty and helpless when my considered plans to lend a hand to this ‘water based’ humanitarian crisis were vetoed within the corporate structure of my then employer.

This led me to work on a disposable portable water container suitable for long-term storage, with comprehensive integrity in terms of function and carbon footprint. This became a near obsession and developed ultimately into my mission of launching a premium consumer brand called AQUAPAX.

If you look at an Aquapax water carton, it might at first appear a little busy. But if you look closely, this is what I hope you will see…

Positioned at the base of the carton, is one of our registered trademarks ‘A PURE THIRST FOR THE ENVIRONMENT’® which forms the foundation of my brand - this is fundamentally why Aquapax exists. Above this sentence, I placed my signature between illustrations of waves to represent the beach from my childhood. I grew up in Durban, on the east coast of South Africa at a time when beaches weren’t places that plastic bottles washed up on.

Above my signature is a bird in flight. It’s not just any bird, it’s Jonathan Livingstone Seagull – a story written by Richard Bach about a seagull learning about life and flight that has inspired me from when I was young to live the life I’ve chosen and to try not to take too many short cuts.

I’ve always loved trees and working with sustainable forest sources as a renewable material was the only true way I could think of to ensure the future of the world’s great forests. Look closely at the front of an Aquapax carton and you will see this clearly in the shape of the light coming through the branches of ‘the tree of life’, with its roots running deep into the earth below.

Fanning out from behind the tree, you can see the sun’s rays shining brightly - I wanted this image to be uplifting to signify positive hope rather than represent a negative castigation of the pretty labels on so many plastic bottle ‘competitors’.

Above the tree and the Aquapax logo, there are three birds migrating - this signifies the change in consumer awareness, represented by a migration which no-one tells birds to do (they simply know when the time is right and fly off). I can feel this movement among consumers leaning towards greater ecological awareness - it’s a slow migration but it’s real…

Finally, at the top of the carton is the statement ‘PURE WATER EVOLUTION’ – I know Aquapax is not yet perfect; we have bio-polymer caps and liners on trial as I type. The water source is impeccable - which was my number one priority - and the other elements will follow, evolving the product and brand as all great products and brands have to ultimately do.

AQUAPAX is premium quality natural mineral water with a near perfect 7.065pH low mineral balance making it suitable for infants and all diets. Aquapax tastes like pure fresh natural water should with no taint or aftertaste; consider how fresh air has absolutely no smell at all and you’ll get it. The carbon footprint of an Aquapax carton is less than half that of a single-use plastic bottle and the empty cartons can also be safely re-filled for reuse by the original owner before recycling when it gets tired.

AQUAPAX began with a strong ethics led foundation as a revolution against the cheap, yet ecologically costly status quo of the bottled water industry. Our call to action is ‘Ditch the plastic’ and who knows where this call will lead?

Ingredients of the Water and Aquapax

I get Google alerts for various things and one of the most flagged topics that comes in relates to a bunch of miss-information circulating on the web relating to babies and tap water and also babies and mineral water.

The de facto position is that in most civilized countries with a decent water infrastructure, clean tap water should be good for a healthy infant over 6 months of age. That’s not to be confused with the need for boiling water when mixing it with infant formula. The formula itself needs to be sterilized, which is why you add boiling water to it.

There’s so much blind advice given to new mums but common sense generally works best, like be sure to run the tap for a while to ensure the water running through is fresh…

Also, it’s a fact that not all tap water is equal and some areas tap water can contain elevated levels of nitrates - mainly in agricultural areas where adequate treatment hasn’t been installed. If your infant is ill, this water may in fact present a risk, depending on where you live, so if in doubt, it can’t harm to boil it until your infant is over a year or strong and healthy again…

The subject of minerals in water is complex, unless you’re a chemist. It’s not just the level of minerals (salt to a degree, but more importantly nitrates) you also have to be confident the bottle in question has been stored properly. Just Google ‘bottled water recall’ and you’ll see how easy it is to contaminate the contents of a bottle of water if it’s not stored and handled properly. If you’ve found your way to this page without coming in the front door, I declare a ‘self-interest here’ as we produce a mineral water suitable for infants, which is also packaged in a paper carton, sealed from light and air to avoid any mishandling issues…

The blind advice to use particular brands of water seems to be given based on their advertising budgets; some advice is ‘naive’ in the extreme. Read the labels is the only real advice to give any new mum and try to understand what the ingredients are in anything you give to your infant. Most water is certainly safer than the alternative of dehydration…

Since 2007, Aquapax has prided itself in being one of the world’s truly pure natural mineral waters, with ultra-low nitrate levels and a near perfect 7.1 pH mineral balance. Here’s our official company stance on the subject with all the reference documents for anyone thinking of immersing in this subject further.

Nitrate / Water Quality Reference Material

  • WHO (World Health Organisation) nitrate commentary page. NB. See bottom of this fact sheet: - “The group at greatest risk is bottle fed infants. Breastfeeding protects babies from methaemoglobinaemia. Boiling water does not remove nitrate.”;
  • WHO guide on nitrate & nitrite in drinking water - specifically read point 5.3 (infants < 3 months). This paper contradicts the limits of the WHO nitrate commentary paper, defining limits for toxicity with small babies with gastrointestinal disturbances. These limits (ranging from 1.5mg to 2.7 mg of nitrate per kilogram of body weight) are potentially exceeded by a number of popular mineral water brands;
  • Drinking Water Standards in England and Wales regulations 2000. This links to the Statutory Instrument 2000 No. 3184 - The Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2000.  This defines the upper limits for acceptable drinking water in the UK. While these are upper limits, boiling tap water will not change the chemical composition of the raw product;
  • Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition issues Draft Report on Salt - 4 November 2002 “The group used information on sodium intakes from breastfeeding to estimate daily target average intakes for infants (0-12 months of age). Draft proposals suggest intakes of less than1g per day for infants aged between 0-6 months and 1g/d for infants aged 7-12 months old. For children aged 1-6 years, the target average salt intake is 2g/d and for children aged 7-14 years it is 5g/d.”;

The Composition of AQUAPAX Natural Mineral Water

Typical Analysis: mg/l (and all naturally occurring in one of life's miracles…)

  • Bicarbonate (HCO3): 145
  • Calcium (Ca): 58.7
  • Magnesium (Mg): 6.3
  • Chloride (Cl): 13.6
  • Sodium (Na): 6.5
  • Sulphate (SO4): 48
  • Potassium (K): 1.0
  • Nitrate (NO3): <0.3
  • Nitrite (NO2): <0.005
  • Manganese (Mn): <0.002
  • Fluoride (F): 0.09
  • Uranium (U): not provable (i.e. none)

The Directors of Just Drinking Water Ltd advocate drinking tap water for hydration purposes. We furthermore advocate mothers’ breast feed their babies where this is practical. We market Aquapax natural mineral water transparently as pure portable water, suitable for all, including infants.

Aquapax is unique ‘portable water’ developed as an ecologically mindful alternative, to counter the plethora of inferior quality bottled water marketed in the UK and around the world. We urge anyone considering the purchase of any bottled water to consider its ingredients and their environmental impact closely prior to making their purchase.

Neil and President of Arab Beverage Association

Neil and President of Arab Beverage Association Monther Al Harthi. Aquapax wins Best Bottled Water in the World

The paperboard used in the cartons is sourced from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) compliant forests that classify a majority of the packaging as renewable.  The naturally pure water is sourced from deep (101 metres) beneath a protected nature park in Germany and the supply chain is carbon balanced, to minimize the business environmental footprint.  With a chemical and microbiological composition that requires no external treatment, the water is suitable for athletes, pregnant women, infants and all diets, including raw and macrobiotic. As a non-leaching package, Aquapax cartons can be refilled and reused prior to recycling and in 2008, Aquapax actually won the coveted QATRAH award for ‘Best bottled water on earth’.

Neil recalled that moment: “ I thought this was it, that we would suddenly get a flood of orders and the business would boom off the back of this accolade, then Lehman Brothers collapsed and everyone has been feeling the pain of that momentous event ever since”.

Despite the economy, the company retains a global development focus, working alongside alliance partners who share a genuine commitment to both the environment and sustainable business practices. As awareness of paper carton packaged pure water grows, so the sight of Aquapax should become commonplace and ultimately break the monopoly of bottled water on supermarket shelves. 

Evidently, what you put in to your body is how your body and skin in particular manifest you on the outside.  As the multi-billion pound beauty industry demonstrates, no one has yet developed a cure for ageing, so the best time to start drinking pure fresh water may just be now with an option to ditch the plastic and opt for your water to be packaged in a classy blue paper carton.

Neil senses a change in the air: “I can feel customers are leaning towards greater ecological and health awareness.  It’s a slow migration, but it’s real. Aquapax has started a revolution against the often cheaper, yet ecologically and potentially health impacting status quo of the beverage industry”.

Neil may well be right, but if it is to be…we shall wait and see.   

Further Information

Aquapax is now available from quality independent outlets across the UK and Europe including selected Waitrose and Holland & Barrett stores. It is the leading packaged water sold in many top department stores, including Selfridges. Finally, Aquapax is available via home/office delivery nationwide through online retailers such as Holland & Barrett, Amazon and Aqua Amore.


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About Neil Tomlinson

Neil Tomlinson is the Founder Director, AQUAPAX Mineral Water. In 2006, he founded JDW Ltd as the brand owner of Aquapax, applying a proven outsourced business model, delegating all non-strategic management functions to external best of breed providers. Aquapax highlights the folly of pretentious glass bottles and demonstrates a pragmatic 'safe' alternative to single use plastic bottles. In addition to AQUAPAX, Neil works closely with the leadership team of Haywards Heath Business Association, helping optimize fellow member businesses. Helping ‘pay it forward’ led him to become an External Director on the Board of the University of Sussex Student Union. Prior to that, it was the responsibility for Education Liaison, helping grow the Sussex Institute of Directors for 6+ years with the same motive.Neil may be contacted via

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