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 able to drink my water from the greenest bottle possible! Some of my Ubud friends have probably seen me walking around with early version the last month or two.
The three problems: 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.
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.
I’ve been experimenting using these wine and spirit glass bottles for my own water bottle for the last year. Its been a simple, straight-forward, non-toxic, low-energy, personal solution. As I have used them however, it’s become clear that although practical, they have their down sides: heavy, fragile, and ugly caps. However, these aren’t that big of deal– after-all, the big trend in health stores for manufactured water bottles is actually glass! People want to get away from plastic.
So, to address the concerns we’ve revamped the recycled glass bottle with the following innovations:
- Simple attached cork top
- Rubber protective sleave made from motor cycle inner tube. This protects from tip overs
- 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.
I am now working with my friend, and fellow bottle-aficionado, Budi Boleng to refine the design. Already he’s helped me make some big steps forward with the design. We’re working with the awesome LOVE logo of Ani and Tess’s Love Stories shop– their sustainable theme, and the good vibes of the logo are the perfect starting point for the EarthBottle’s branding.
Stay posted as this innovation evolves. I am super excited to pick up the latest prototypes next week from Budi and start on a run of bottles for LoveStories.