Introducing a regenerative solution to the 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. By connecting these ‘problems’ we’ve come up with a locally upcycled, beautiful solution: the EarthBottle.
The EarthBottle innovation process is fuelled by my own personal motivation: I want to be able to drink my water from the healthiest, greenest and most beautiful water bottle possible. It also derives from my frustration with industrial drinking designs. This is an innovation that turns three industrial problems into one great solution for a personal water bottle.
- Where I live there are too many plastic water bottles,
- There is no recycling for glass bottles,
- The only convenient reusable drinking bottles in my area are factory produced, mined and made-in-China.
By working with the opposites of these ‘problems’ we’ve come up with a beautiful solution: a locally sourced, locally crafted, beautiful glass personal water bottle.
Like all regenerative designs the EarthBottle is developed from fundamental principles. These principles are so key, that I call them the design’s ‘virtue principles’: they make the design what it is and define its relevance. Integral to the design is actually engraving the principles onto the EarthBottle. This assists in making users aware of the depth of intention in the EarthBottle’s design.
- Upcycled: The bottle, rubber sleeve and cork stopper are upcycled.
- Locally Crafted: The creation is 100% locally made, from locally source material.
- 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.
- Handcrafted: Made with love by local artisans practicing their unique craft
- Reusable: 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 bottled 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 dealt 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 and the bottles are shipped way over here to Indonesia. Yes, it’s better than using plastic bottles every day, but tons of energy goes into the mining, making and shipping of those bottles. It’s a solution, but one that is still deeply immersed in the capital industrial system.
Then there are the glass bottles. There is a vast abundance of glass bottles here in Bali that can’t be recycled! The recycling centres 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 aren’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