The Plastic Water Bottle Problem
The Industrial Water Bottle Problem
Excess Glass Bottle Problem
A Personal Water Bottle Solution
Where I live there are too many plastic water bottles, no recycling for glass bottles, and only imported made-in-China personal water bottles. By connecting these ‘problems’ we’ve come up with a beautiful solution: a locally sourced, locally crafted, beautiful glass personal water bottle. Its an open source design that anyone, anywhere can copy using locally available materials to create their own drinking bottle solution.
The Quest for the Greenest Water Bottle
The EarthBottle innovation process is fueled by personal motivation: I want to be able to drink my water from the healthiest, greenest and most beautiful water bottle possible. This is an innovation that turns three pollution problems into one great solution for a personal water bottle.
Where I live there are too many plastic water bottles, no recycling for glass bottles, and only imported made-in-China personal water bottles. The innovation: by connecting these ‘problems’ we’ve come up with a beautiful solution: a locally sourced, locally crafted, beautiful glass personal water bottle.
Core Virtue Principles
Like all regenerative designs there are fundamental principles at play here. This principles are so key, that I call them the designs ‘virtue principles’: they make the design what it is and define its importance. Thus, part of the design is actually engraving the principles onto the EarthBottle so that people are aware of the depth of intention represented by the object’s manifestation.
- Upcycled: The bottle is an upcycled ‘waste’, and so too is the rubber sleeve (made from an old motorcycle tire)
- Locally Crafted: The creation is 100% locally made, from locally source material, and made by hand.
- Zero-Plastic: No plastic is involved in the design
- Cradle to Cradle: Once its use as a personal water bottle is over, it can be readily used in other ways: from bottle building to a flower vase. If damaged or destroyed, the broken glass can be recycled or crushed to be used with cement.
- Open Source SA: The design is attributed with the Creative Commons BY-SA license, meaning it can be copied by anyone anywhere as long as the new designed is shared-alike and attribution given. This way, people in other locals can make and even sell the EarthBottle locally.
- Reusuable: Unlike disposable plastic or glass bottles the EarthBottle is designed to be used over and over.
The Three 'Problems'
The first problem, we all know: there are way too many of us consuming way too much water in plastic bottles. Not only does it use up tons of energy and create lots of C02 to manufacture, ship and distribute the botted water, but there is the inevitable plastic waste that ensues from all the plastic consumed. Yes, plastic bottles can be recycled, but alas… all that plastic eventually ends up in the environment. I delt with this topic in my essay Recycling: The Evil Illusion. The Guardian also did a great feature on the plastic bottle problem in case you need more convincing: A million bottles a minute: world’s plastic binge ‘as dangerous as climate change’
My friends at Trash Hero Indonesia, who do beach clean ups, are working on the plastic water bottle problem. My friend Roman devised a great initiative in Thailand where they sell stainless steel water bottles. They encourage local businesses to give free water to any visitor who come in with a TrashHero water bottle. They presented this idea in Bali, where I live, to start locally as a way to transcend plastic bottle use.
It’s a great idea. Yet, it raises the second problem: Those bottles are made in China in a big factory, the metal is mined and shipped, the bottles are shipped way over here to Indonesia. Yes, it’s better than using plastic bottles every day, but tons of energy go into the mining, making and shipping of those bottles. Its a solution, but one that is still deeply immersed in the capital industrial system.
Then there’s the glass bottles. There is a vast abundance of glass bottles here in Bali that can’t be recycled! The recycling centers are full of all these gorgeous wine, liquor and spirit bottles. My colleague Olivier runs Bali Recycle. He contacted me because his stockpile (like so many others around the world) is overflowing. He cuts the bottles into glasses and other stuff, but there just isn’t enough applications for the bottles to deal with them all. They don’t know what to with them– other than ship them to the landfill or crush them for sand. It’s a crazy waste of energy, beauty and… opportunity.
Core Design Innovations
The EarthBottle features the following core innovations:
- Simple attached cork top
- Rubber protective sleave made from motor cycle inner tube. This protects from tip overs and provides a handy grip.
- Big sand blasted logo: makes it clear that the bottle isn’t an alcohol bottle
- Sandblasted Theme icons: makes the philosophy and ethic behind the bottle clear
- Optional cutting down the top neck of the bottle to a more compact size.
Open Source: BY / SA
THe Earth bottle concept and design are licensed under a Creative Commons Share Alike and Attribution license. This means that you can copy, modify, create, mass produce and sell the EarthBottle as much as you like as long as you Attribute it to Russs.net/EarthBottle. Please use the name EarthBottle and reference the website. This way others can learn more about the core philosophy, and create their own! Please use the name EarthBottle so that others can search and find the design. Happy drinking!
Download the Source Files
This project is still in beta development. The file base is not yet complete for the deisign. However, you can start by downloading the PDF design brief to get started.
My Essays on the Philosophy behind the EarthBottle
My blogs on the EarthBottle development
The EarthBottle is an open source, fully local, hand-crafted, upcycled and zero-plastic personal drinking bottle solution. And the design is improving... The latest EarthBottle prototypes are in! The design is getting steadily more and more refined as I...
I am excited about a new regenerative design that I have been working on for the last year! This is an innovation that turns three pollution problems into one great solution for a personal water bottle. The innovation is fueledd by personal motivation: I want to be...