A Kickstarter campaign re-thinks bottled water

| February 27, 2014

Bottled water has an pretty bad rap from an environmental perspective, but that hasn’t stopped us from guzzling it like it’s the fountain of youth. In 2012, Americans drank an average of 30.8 gallons of bottled water per person.

Water bottles From Steven Depolo.

Americans drank an average of 30.8 gallons of bottled water per person in 2012. From Steven Depolo.

That adds up to a whole lot of bottles — and a whole lot of concern about environmental impact. According to The Water Project, the impact is significant:

  • Only one out of five bottles end up in the recycling bin;
  • There are two million tons of discarded bottles sitting in landfills as I write; and
  • Traditionally, the bottles used for water take over 1,000 years to biodegrade.

With bottled water consumption actually increasing in spite of opposition, we’re thirsty for solutions. Enter Treeson, the company with “The bottle that can save the planet.”

Treeson, the brainchild of Carlton Solle, is taking aim at the bottled water industry with the introduction of a plant-based, biodegradable bottle. Their theme is: “100% from the planet, 100% for the planet.”

The Treeson bottle is free of toxins and GMOs. It’s also compostable. The shape is markedly distinct from the cylindrical design to which we’re accustomed. The tapered shape is designed to echo the shape a leaf. That’s a nod to the bottle’s eco-friendliness, but it also serves a practical purpose: the shape makes the bottle very easy to flatten, which is highly conducive to recycling.

In fact, Treeson is so concerned with ensuring that their bottles are recycled that they provide pre-paid return bottles, asking users to flatten used bottles and then send them back to the company. (Treeson’s labels are intended for the U.S. Postal Service, which Treeson designates as the “greenest fleet.”)

Treeson will recycle returned bottles using a machine that will convert the bottles into clean energy. They claim that their machine is 95 percent efficient, with only 5 percent bi-product. They’ll use the power generated from recycling to create more bottles. Thus, if it works, it will be a self-sustaining system.

From Kickstarter.

The Treeson water bottle. From Kickstarter.

Treeson is currently funded by a Kickstarter campaign. Backers can receive anything from a Treeson sticker to cases of water, T-shirts and other branded swag, and a spot on Treeson’s wall of fame.

Solle says he was motivated to create the company after a stroll along the beach in Costa Rica, where he kept spotting discarded plastic water bottles. Disturbed by what he saw, he conducted a bit of research and learned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, “a swirling vortex of trash floating in the middle of the ocean, larger than the state of Texas and growing at an alarming rate every year.”

Solle wanted to do something to combat the problem, and Treeson was the answer. The water itself isn’t particularly unique (though it is described as “pure, natural spring water”) — but the bottle design and accompanying recycling process is revolutionary indeed.

Treeson is still very much in the nascent stage (the Kickstarter campaign runs through March 14th), but we’ll be watching its progress with interest.

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Category: Recycling programs

About the Author ()

Ellen Hunter Gans has been writing for RecycleReminders since the blog’s inception. She is passionate about words, new media and, of course, recycling.

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