London-based bottled water company Choose Water has developed a biodegradable and recyclable water bottle with the intention of reducing the amount of toxin-laden, ocean-smothering plastic containers that are used and tossed every day.
The vessel is made from 100 percent recycled paper pulp that is vacuum formed around a sustainably sourced watertight lining and topped with a thin steel cap, according to inventor and company founder James Longcroft.
“Our bottle doesn’t harm the environment; it will degrade within months in the ocean or in landfill and can be recycled. So no matter where it ends up, it won’t do any damage,” Choose Water states on their IndieGoGo campaign page.
Better yet, all sales profits will go to a clean water access non-profit organization called Water For Africa.
Longcroft explained to the Evening Standard that he first launched Choose Water in 2016 with the goal of using funds raised from standard bottled water sales to support his chosen charity, yet quickly became repulsed by the environmental devastation caused by single-use plastics.
A recent study has calculated that a staggering 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic products have been produced since the 1950s, and 79 percent of these items were not recycled or incinerated. As it takes about 400 years to decay, 6.3 billion tons of plastic waste is now sitting in landfills or floating in enormous clusters in the ocean – and the figure continues to rise. An estimated 13 billion plastic drink bottles are produced annually in Britain alone.
Putting his University of Durham chemistry degree to good use, Longcroft spent a year tinkering with formulas for a fully functional yet fully guilt-free design. The end result is his proprietary waterproof lining material that prevents leaks when in use but begins to break down immediately when submerged in water or exposed to the conditions of a landfill. He states that the bottle completely disintegrated after three weeks and the cap takes about one year. The production is only 5 pence (7 cents) more per unit than that of creating a plastic container.
The £25,000 target of the IndieGoGo campaign will reportedly help work out a few last-minute design improvements and expand the scope of production.
“We can't get our bottles onto shelves without you guys. We need new machinery, tooling and distribution networks so we can complete with the plastic big-guns, and get our bottles onto shelves as soon as possible.”
Longcroft’s timing neatly coincides with several policies aimed at reducing UK plastic use. Earlier this month, prime minister Theresa May announced a proposal to ban single-use items such as straws and Q-tips, and in January, a long-overdue ban on microbeads went into effect and the scope of the 5p fee for plastic bags in shops was expanded.