Mananalu’s CEO discusses ocean plastic pollution and the new Hawaiian Airlines partnership


Founded by actor Jason Momoa, Mananalu Water has a mission to remove plastic from the Ocean. With Mananalu being a sponsor of this year’s APEX/IFSA Global Expo, we caught up with CEO David Cuthbert to find out more.

APEX Media – Give us the one minute elevator pitch for Mananalu

David Cuthbert (DC): It’s simple. We have a massive plastic waste problem, and Mananalu is doing something about it. We make purified water in an aluminum bottle, but we are way more than a bottled water company.

We are a global movement – a brand on a mission to eliminate single-use plastic bottles by recruiting wave makers who are ready for change, big change. So, we go beyond just offering an alternative to single-use plastic bottles, we are also doing something about the existing plastic problem by actively removing plastic.

For every single bottle sold, Mananalu removes the equivalent of one plastic bottle from ocean-bound waste. We call this promise “drink one, remove one” and it means double the impact in fighting the plastic waste crisis. We want people to know that when they opt for a bottle of Mananalu they are creating a wave of change that directly impacts the health of our oceans, our planet, our people.

Tell us about the scale of the problem (plastic in the ocean) you are trying to solve

DC – It’s monumental. At least 14 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year. The bottled water market is a key contributor to these numbers, driven by plastic bottles, and is expected to grow significantly over the next 5 years. If we do nothing, in just a couple of decades plastic waste in the ocean will outweigh the animals who live there. 

You say that for every bottle drunk, you remove one bottle of plastic from the ocean, how does this work in practice?

DC – We partner with rePurpose Global, a leading plastic-action organization and social enterprise dedicated to empowering businesses to take action against plastic pollution. Each bottle sold funds the work they do to remove, recycle, and repurpose thousands of tons of plastic waste before it reaches the oceans. To date, we helped to remove the equivalent of over 13 million plastic bottles.

Q – What are the benefits for airlines stocking Mananalu on board?

DC – It’s all about offering sustainability to your passengers and driving real impact for our planet. Travelers are demanding change and the travel industry has a unique opportunity to shape this change through the products they offer to passengers/guests while on board.

Our founder, Jason Momoa, was actually on a flight surrounded by water in single-use plastic bottles when he came up with the idea for Mananalu. You may know Jason as Aquaman on screen, but he’s also a passionate ocean advocate and plastic waste activist off screen.

He wanted to make a product that would give people a choice. Jason’s dream came true in April of 2022 when he began our amazing partnership with Hawaiian Airlines. His celebration of the partnership went viral when a passenger filmed him standing in as a flight attendant and passing out bottles of Mananalu during the drink service.

The partnership represents a significant step towards sustainability for Hawaiian Airlines as they work to phase out plastic from their cabins. Together we have prevented over 300k plastic bottles from being consumed and removed over 300k plastic bottles from ending up in our oceans through our drink one, remove one initiative. 

Q – What is the offering that airlines can give their customers?  Would you envisage for example, creating a branded bottle for an airline, that passengers can then reuse on every flight?

DC – Absolutely. We are currently finalizing a custom co-branded 22oz bottle with Hawaiian Airlines. They will offer this refillable, resealable bottle on their Pau Hana cart for passengers in flight. Our purified water is available in both 16oz and 22oz resealable aluminum bottles, and in multiple sized aluminum cans. We also offer flavored still water in our 16oz bottle – a fan favorite and refreshing choice for travelers. We know airlines have unique needs, so our innovation team is ready to support any airline ready for change.

Find out more about Mananalu here.