Most people understand and agree that disposable water bottles are expensive, a very inefficient use of resources, and harmful to the environment. But that understanding doesn't necessarily translate into action.According to CNBC, Americans buy 51 billion bottles of water a year, and recycle less than one quarter of them. The remaining bottles end up in a landfill or as litter jeopardizing wild life and creating unforeseen consequences to human health and the environment. While awareness of the negative impact of plastic bottle consumption increases, convenience and lack of motivation undermine efforts to reduce usage.Our challenge was to close that gap between understanding and actual behavior, and to explore ways in which, through design, we might help motivate people to do the right thing.
The 999Bottle: A canteen with a conscience
A Seattle design firm creates a reusable water bottle prototype with an integrated number dial and corresponding iPhone app — and makes the positive impact of water bottles less abstract.
Save for black + blum’s show-stopping Eau Good, I’m normally a touch reluctant to report on new entrants into the reusable water bottle market because, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s a mighty crowded one and takes a whole lot on the innovative design front to make a new one stand out.
Well, I'm not in the least reluctant to feature the 999Bottle, a prototype reusable water bottle currently seeking funding on Kickstarter that literally takes things up a notch by helping you “track and visualize the positive impact you can have on the environment by drinking from re-usable bottles instead of disposable ones.” Say what? Each time you use the sleek, stainless steel canteen in lieu of grabbing a throwaway plastic bottle, you can adjust a nifty three-number dial (not too unlike a four or five-dial combination lock) counter system that wraps around the rubberized base of the 24-ounce vessel. Basically, each time you refill from the tap, you move the dial up one notch to keep track of exactly how many plastic water bottles you’ve avoided using.
Great, but what’s the point of keeping tabs? Enter the corresponding 999Bottle iPhone app that helps you further understand the exact impact — financially and environmentally — of your plastic-water-bottle-avoidance habit. Plug in the number that you’ve reached on your 999Bottle and the app “tells you what the numbers mean, giving context to your conservation through insightful visuals that graphically depict and share the impact of your efforts.” Through the app, you can also share your progress with friends and embark on a lil’ old-fashioned competition.
Love it. Fernd van Engelen, industrial design director of Seattle-based product design firm Artefact, explains the mission behind his creation on the 999Bottles Kickstarter page (and in the video embedded at the bottom of this page):
On the topic of doing the right thing, why not help make the 999Bottle a reality by helping fund its transformation beyond the thoughtfully conceived prototype stage? Since this is a Kickstarter campaign after all, there are numerous perks to donating — and naturally, receiving the bottle itself, if the campaign reaches its goal and the bottles are put into production, is one of them. As of now, Artefact has raised more than $21,000 of the $99,999 needed to put the bottle into production and there are 50 days to go.
Devote reusable water bottle users: If the 999Bottle does reach its fundraising goal and is ultimately available for purchase, is it something you'd be interested in purchasing?
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