Inventor taps into TV exposure, crowd funding for water bottle project

By Kate Tilley
Correspondent

Published: April 21, 2014 3:26 pm ET
Updated: April 21, 2014 3:31 pm ET

Image By: Half A Teaspoon Pty. Ltd. Gretha Oost has sold more than 20,000 of her 321 water bottles, with an integrated filter, since 2010.

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Consumer Products

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — An Australian inventor has developed a reusable plastic water bottle with a filter in a bid to get more people to drink tap water instead of buying disposable water bottle.

Gretha Oost founded Melbourne-based Half A Teaspoon Pty. Ltd. to market 321 Water-branded bottles, manufactured in Melbourne from Eastman Chemical Co.’s Tritan-branded copolyester. She will not name the manufacturer.

Oost said the product name 321 Water was because her research found it takes three liters of fresh water to make one liter of bottled water.

There is also a recycled PET version of the bottle, made in collaboration with Melbourne-based Visy Industries Australia Pty. Ltd., from materials recycled in Australia.

The bottles contain a rubber-sealed carbon block, a porous filter that absorbs impurities, odors, tastes, organic compounds and residual chlorine from potable tap water.

Oost told Plastics News she was struck by an image of children sitting on a “massive pile of empty water bottles” when she read a book about the global water crisis.

She researched bottle usage and found common motivations for buying bottled water are convenience, taste and style.

In 2008, she developed a prototype 321 Water bottle with funding from a Victorian Government design project, Design Victoria. She appeared on an Australian television show, The New Inventors, where inventors present their products to a national audience. She said the show “generated mass interest.”

While the product was in the concept stage, Oost used crowd funding to start manufacturing. She presold 2,500 units and raising the rest of the money from investors for a 10,000 unit run.

It took 14 months to create the product. The first customer bought a bottle in September 2009 and received it in December 2010.

Oost has now sold “close to 20,000” units, mostly in Australia, but also to international markets, including the U.S., Spain, France, and the Netherlands, via a website.

She is currently in discussions with potential distributors in Asia, trying to negotiate sales to China, Japan and Singapore.

She sells corporate-branded versions of the bottles to companies including Qantas Airways Ltd., Samsung Group and General Electric Australia.

The bottles have not sold as quickly as Oost expected, but she blames a lack of consumer awareness about the number of bottles thrown away.

“We have to focus on educating people and positioning [the bottles] as a desirable product.”

Filters can be used for 100 refills and last one to two months. Customers can buy annual, monthly or bi-monthly refills.

Oost said other reusable filtered water bottles require replacing a complete cartridge and casing, while 321 Water bottles replace only the carbon block, thus “minimizing environmental impact.”

Image By: Half A Teaspoon Pty. Ltd. A carbon block filter fits into the bottom of the plunger in the 321 water bottle, and can be replaced without throwing away any other part of the bottle.


Comments

Inventor taps into TV exposure, crowd funding for water bottle project

By Kate Tilley
Correspondent

Published: April 21, 2014 3:26 pm ET
Updated: April 21, 2014 3:31 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

FTC warns bag makers to take care before making biodegradeability claims

October 23, 2014 12:30 pm ET

Makers of oxodegradable or oxo-biodegradable plastic bags should consider themselves on notice, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.    More

Image

Packaging specialist Amcor hits sustainability goals ahead of schedule

October 23, 2014 11:15 am ET

Global packaging company Amcor Ltd. has achieved its waste reduction goals two years ahead of schedule, according to the company's new sustainability ...    More

Image

Simple lightweighting in packaging, caps not so simple anymore

October 22, 2014 4:16 pm ET

The days of finding simple ways to remove additional weight — and costs — from plastic bottles are over, according to one expert.    More

Image

Unilever uses foaming in new bottle

October 22, 2014 1:35 pm ET

Foaming is a good alternative to thin-walling for reducing plastic use in consumer goods packaging, according to a Unilever plastics expert.    More

Image

Bioplastics, design join forces for SOMA

October 21, 2014 11:33 am ET

A polylactic acid made by Germany's Fraunhofer UMSICHT is a key part of the Soma home water filtration system, which its developers call the “fi...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events