Updated: Dec 20, 2021
Aquaman actor Jason Momoa is the force behind Mananalu. “Now that I’ve become Aquaman,” he says, “there are a lot of things I want to do to try to save the Earth.” We’re biased, sure, but creating your own drinking water company is objectively a pretty awesome way to do it.
As a native Hawaiian, Jason has a long history of environmentalism that began even before he founded Mananalu. He fought to stop the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea and represented the island nations when testifying on climate change in front of the United Nations. And in April 2019, he announced the launch of his new drinking water company, Mananalu.
In Hawaiian, “mana” means the sacred spirit of life and “nalu” means a powerful wave that pushes across the ocean. With Mananalu, Jason sought to create a wave of change by fighting plastic pollution with aluminum-canned water.
He debuted Mananalu via video, while shaving his infamous beard for the first time in seven years and sharing all the reasons that inspired him to launch the drinking water company. Like the fact that ocean plastic pollution is destroying our planet, and that aluminum—an infinitely recyclable material—could just be our saving grace. “It’s just water,” Jason says in the video, “but I feel good about it.” And he should feel good, because choosing aluminum over plastic is always the right idea.
By now, most of us have heard the shocking statistic that only 9 percent of plastic is actually recycled. But did you know that this leads to over 18 billion pounds of ocean plastic pollution each year? Aluminum, on the other hand, actually gets recycled and can become a new can in just 60 days. This is why Jason chose aluminum, and partnered with industry leader Ball Corp. to produce our aluminum cans. (For more on why aluminum is better than plastic, check-out our recent blog post).
The idea to use aluminum over plastic for a drinking water company came when Jason was flying high at 30,000 feet. As a frequent traveler, he became acutely aware of all the single-use plastics out there, and couldn’t understand why water was served in plastic when so many other drinks are available in aluminum cans. “I just think drinking out of plastic water bottles is disgusting,” Jason has said.
When you look at the impact of single-use plastics on the environment, especially ocean plastic pollution, the only way to describe it is disgusting. This is why, since founding Mananalu, Jason has gone on to spread the word about our wave of change and the impact of plastic pollution. Shortly after announcing his new drinking water company via viral video, he appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where he threw axes to raise money (over $30,000!) for Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, a nonprofit that inspires local communities to care for their coastlines, and raise awareness about the impacts of single-use plastic.
Similarly, his passion for making the film and television industry less wasteful inspired Mananalu’s partnership with Earth Angel, a sustainable production service provider. By providing aluminum canned water to Earth Angel’s production sets, Mananalu offered a sustainable alternative to plastic water bottles, when sets had to move away from communal water stations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earth Angel, whose clients include The Amazing Spiderman 2, The Post, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and In the Heights, has avoided using over 2.5 million single-use plastic water bottles.
In addition to partnering with film and television productions, Jason spearheaded several of Mananalu’s partnerships with major events and hospitality groups to replace single-use plastic water bottles with recyclable aluminum cans. Not to mention, donating pallets of water to those in need, which has the added value of reducing the impact of plastic water bottles during a crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jason personally donated over 28 pallets of Mananalu to the Navajo reservation, which was facing one of the highest infection rates in the nation.
Unsurprisingly, Jason’s commitment to going plastic-free extends beyond his drinking water company and into his personal life, as well. When asked to share a list of his most essential items in an interview with GQ, plastic-free items topped the list. Of course, Mananalu came in at #1, because “Aquaman needs water.” We’ll drink to that!