A reusable, squashable, U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved plastic bottle, designed by an Australian inventor, has attracted the attention of manufacturers in Europe, the United States and Japan.
Scott Brown developed the bottle, called a squattle, after seeing the number of plastic bottles thrown out at his Gold Coast swimming complex.
Made from a polypropylene compound, the squattle can be compressed to a quarter of its normal size and re-expanded as many as 1,000 times. Brown said the squattle will reduce the amount of waste going to landfills and extend the contents' shelf life.
Ant Packaging Pty. Ltd. in Bangalow is manufacturing the squattles, but Brown said the small operation produces only a few squattles a minute. He has had inquiries from manufacturers in Europe and the Americas interested in manufacturing the product under license. Brown said he will not license the product in China until China improves its enforcement of patent laws.
The squattle's cap contains a valve system that eliminates air from the bottle, slowing oxidation of its contents. Brown said tests show the shelf life of cream in a squattle could be extended by 21 days and milk by 10 days.
Since February, when manufacturing began in Australia, Brown has received inquiries from manufacturers of at least 25 types of liquids, in industries including wine, fruit juice, cold-pressed oil and petrochemicals.
Brown plans to distribute 15,000 squattles in promotional giveaways to raise awareness of the product. The squattle costs about 5 cents more than a conventional container to manufacture, he said.
In November, the squattle won Australia's National Logistics & Supply Chain Award for environmental excellence, run by the Logistics Association of Australia.