By: Rhoda Miel
April 19, 2013
CHICAGO — A newly designed bottle is only part of Merijn Everaarts business plan to get consumers to ditch disposable water bottles. The rest relies on a smartphone app that leads consumers to public water spots.
"We're not just selling the bottle, we're selling the message," said Everaarts, founder and owner of Dopper, a company based in Harlaam, The Netherlands, which is expanding to the United States.
To sell that message, the Dopper smartphone app allows users to quickly check for any publicly available drinking fountain or tap so they can refill their bottle when they're away from home.
The app has far more locations in Europe — and especially the Netherlands — although it is starting to fill in a few spots submitted by users, especially near its U.S. offices in San Francisco. Everaarts arranged to have a public water tap installed at his booth during the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago March 2-5 to remain true to the company's core values.
The bottle itself was created by industrial designer Rinke van Remortal, selected during an open competition. It has an ABS lid — which can also double as a drinking cup — and a polypropylene body.
In addition to the bottle and the app, Dopper has committed 10 percent of its net proceeds to fund clean water projects in the developing world. It recently completed a water infrastructure system in Nepal that will benefit 20,000 people, he said.