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All life needs water, yet if we do not change the way we consume it, we could very well choke the life from our planet.
Drinking from disposable plastic bottles is a characteristic of our on-the-go culture. It’s convenient, it’s cheap and there’s the peace of mind that comes with knowing that bottled water is generally sanitary. This is a big deal especially in developing countries where there is simply no way one can just drink from the tap.
That’s why a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute. It’s predicted that this number will jump another 20% by 2021 and safe to say, this is detrimental both to our planet and to human beings. While every plastic bottle company out there encourages consumers to recycle their bottles, the reality is a lot of these bottles end up in landfills and in the sea. 80% of plastic bottles are not recycled. In landfills they stay for hundreds of years not naturally degrading. In the water, they kill marine animals. They degrade into tiny particles that we end up consuming. It’s a vicious cycle.
But the good news is there are some companies who are looking to do more than advertise and preach recycling. They are going to the source of the issue – alternatives to plastic bottles.
Generation Water is a startup based in Phuket and partnered with the Marriott hotel chain and the entrepreneurs behind the idea wanted to come up with a sustainable alternative to plastic bottles that was commercially competitive and met the needs of resorts and authorities.
In Asia, hotel guests get complimentary water, mostly in plastic bottles, contributing greatly to the rubbish smothering the natural beauty that draws tourists in in the first place. And in Phuket, water is also in short supply as trucks have to bring in fresh water to resorts that don’t have their own catchment areas.
To help Marriott produce their own water, Generation Water set up a water plant at the JW Marriott Phuket Resort which features two generators that converts vapour from the air into water, making 4,000 liters a day. It is filtered, minerals are added and it is put into reusable glass bottles. Since production began, Marriott has stopped more than 100,000 plastic bottles from entering the landfills and oceans.
Skipping Rocks Lab offers another solution – edible water pods. Called Ooho, the edible packaging is made from seaweed and other plants to create a clear membrane thick enough to hold liquids but thin enough to easily bite through. Ooho can hold water, spirits, soda and even cosmetics and it can be composted, naturally breaking down in four to six weeks.
At cafes or restaurants or food trucks, the packaging can even be made on-site, negating the need to truck bottled water long distance. The company is currently creating a machine that can produce a ball of water in seconds.
While detractors say that it is an impractical alternative – the small serving is not something most of us want or need on a daily basis, and the membrane is quite delicate, which would mean it may need external packaging to protect it which would create trash. Nevertheless it is a step in the right direction and anything that reduces waste gets a thumbs up from us!
Both Generation Water and Skipping Rocks Lab are part of a new generation of businesses that is immensely conscious of the impact human activity has on the planet, who are taking steps to mitigate this impact before it is too late for all of us. We believe that it is only when we work together to tackle life’s problems, instead of sweeping it all under a rug, that we can all make a real difference.
What steps are you taking to solve real life problems?
How would your brand participate in the golden age of the geek?
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