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Venky By Venkatesh Kini
January 31, 2020

Bottled Water Alternatives


Bottled water. It’s everywhere. According to industry estimates, it is now the single largest beverage category in the world by volume. And for a good reason. It is zero calorie, safe, portable, fashionable, and some spring waters claim therapeutic benefits. But even bottled water has its dark side…. plastic waste, tons and tons of it.

I have a confession to make. I played a small role in popularizing plastic single use bottled water. Because I was the global director for bottled water at The Coca Cola Company in the early 2000’s. But back then we had no idea that it would contribute so significantly to the problem of plastic pollution. Now I know better. And the good news is that companies know it too. Nestle has announced huge investments to convert to recycled plastic, Dasani is testing water dispensers and water in aluminum cans. 

At Ubuntoo, we list many promising new technologies, consumer awareness, and new business models that are transforming the drinking water segment. And hopefully one day will help replace billions of single use plastic bottles, many of which litter our environment and float in the oceans. Read on to see some examples of these innovations and the companies behind them. We hope you will encourage them by buying their services, investing in them or contributing to their growth story in some other way. Do write to us with your thoughts and feedback.
 

Warm regards,
Venky Kini
Co-Founder — Ubuntoo


Bottled Water Alternatives

Although water filters like Brita have been around for a while, they are mainly focused on the end consumer for home use. Till recently plastic bottled water was the most convenient, affordable and safe way to get water while on the go and at work. Not anymore. Thanks to the internet of things, breakthroughs in materials, new filter technologies and innovative business models, a new breed of entrepreneurs is finding ways to offer safe, affordable, great tasting and convenient water away from home. Especially in emerging markets where public sources of water are highly suspect.

Some of the solutions we list on Ubuntoo include:

  • Water ATMs that dispense high quality water for a low cost to consumers who bring their own refillable bottles
  • Water as a service, IOT enabled water dispensers designed specifically for institutional customers, replacing clunky 20-liter jars while remotely monitoring quality
  • Atmospheric water generators that range from electricity powered condenser systems to solar warmth powered dessicant based solutions
  • Micro bottling plants for reusable glass bottled water for captive consumption or local area distribution

None of these is a silver bullet solution that can single-handedly address the problems caused by plastic waste from bottled water. However, each has a role to play in areas where their unique strengths are an advantage. See below for a sample of companies listed on Ubuntoo. Do write to us for help selecting the right solution for your needs, including many in our database that are not listed in our website.


INNOVATION SPOTLIGHT

  • FloWater Innovative water dispensing machine to replace bottled water    
  • Zero Mass Water Solar-powered Hydropanel that makes drinking water from sunlight and air
  • Generation Water Drinking water from air using dispensers and reusable glass bottles
  • Instream Water A sustainable and affordable alternative to bottled water


CHALLENGES

The Protective Packaging Challenge led by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition in partnership with Ubuntoo closed for entries on January 17th. Over 20 entries were received. The winners will soon be announced, and they will be invited to present at the SPC Impact 2020 in Austin, Texas.  


EVENTS

Next week more than 1,500 sustainability leaders and practitioners from the business world, government agencies, academia and NGOs are expected to gather at Phoenix, Arizona for GreenBiz 20


IN THE NEWS


MUST READ

We are glad to release our podcast series, The Rise of the Ecopreneur, on our website. The first episode was with Tim Silverwood of Take 3 for the Sea


Water & Air, the two essential fluids on which life depends, have become global garbage cans.  - Jacques Yves Cousteau, Ocean Explorer 

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