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Jaden Smith
Credit: Courtesy Jaden Smith

Fashion and entertainment influencer Jaden Smith shares why he helped start an environmentally conscious water bottle company, Just Water, and joined the Environmental Media Association's board of directors.

When I was a kid, I kept seeing discarded water bottles on the ground everywhere, and the amount of waste blew me away. I told my parents that I was passionate about reducing our carbon footprint, so in 2008 we helped launch Just Water, a company that sells spring water in more-planet-friendly bottles.

In the beginning 52 percent of our bottles were made from renewable resources—now we’re up to 82 percent, which means we’ve further cut our greenhouse-gas emissions.

The tops of the bottles are made out of plant-based plastic derived from Brazilian sugar cane. I love using the sugar cane because you don’t need to water it—it’s humid and rainy enough in Brazil for the plant to naturally sustain itself every year.

Credit: More than six million bottles of Just Water were sold in the U.S. last year. Courtesy Just Water.

We’ve also developed a partnership with Glens Falls, New York, where the water is packaged and bottled. Just Water uses less than 3 percent of their excess 1.7 billion gallons of annual rainfall.

Essentially, our company's created a more ethical water model that makes zero impact on the community water draw. And we decided to pay six times more for the water than the next highest-paying water user in the area. This way, the city can take that money and give back to their water infrastructure.

Credit: The company sources its water from springs in Glens Falls, N.Y. Courtesy Just Water.

Last year the EMA, a nonprofit that works with pop-culture figures to promote environmental progress, thought what our company did was so awesome that it gave me an award. It was a powerful moment for me.

After that I joined the EMA’s board of directors to get involved with such programs as the Impact Summit, which brings together eco-conscious innovators and supports them with things like a $100,000 grant for pioneering projects. My ultimate goal is to move through the entire spectrum of consumer goods and eliminate plastic, one product at a time.

—As told to Shalayne Pulia

InStyle Exclusive: Use the code “JUSTINSTYLE” for 25% off your onetime purchase of a Just Water 24-pack now through September.

For more information on the EMA, visit green4ema.org. To read more stories like this, pick up the September issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, Amazon, and for digital download now.