Gretha Oost, founder of Half A Teaspoon Pty. Ltd., a company based in Melbourne, has invented a revolutionary reusable plastic water bottle with a porous filter in an effort to get more people to drink tap water and minimize their environmental impact.
According to the article on Plastic News, Ms Oost founded the company to market 321 Water-branded bottles that are manufactured in Melbourne from Eastman Chemical Co.’s Tritan-branded copolyester.
The name of her product, 321 Water, stems from the findings of her research, namely that it takes three litres of fresh water to make one litter of bottled water, while the idea for her revolutionary water bottle came from a striking image she saw of children sitting on a “massive pile of empty water bottles” in a book dedicated to the global water crisis.
Thanks to a grant from Design Victoria, a Victorian Government design project, she made the prototype of the bottle back in 2008 and after she appeared on New Inventors, an Australian TV show, her product sparked the interest of the nation.
Using crowd funding, Ms Oost managed to kick start the manufacturing process while the product itself was still in the concept stage, preselling 2,500 bottles and raising enough money for another 10,000 bottles.
Today, Ms Oost has sold nearly 20,000 of her 321 Water bottles. The product is mostly sold in Australia, but is also available, via website, in the U.S, Spain, France and the Netherlands, while discussions for future distribution in Asia are currently underway. She also sells corporate-branded versions of the bottles to companies like Qantas Airways Ltd., Samsung Group and General Electric Australia.
Although she expected a much higher number in terms of sold units up to date, she claims that consumer awareness levels regarding the number of plastic bottles that are thrown away are disturbingly low.
“We have to focus on educating people and positioning [the bottles] as a desirable product,” said Ms Oost.
The bottle itself contains a rubber-sealed carbon block, a porous filter that absorbs all impurities, odours, tastes, organic compounds and residual chlorine from portable tap water. In comparison with other reusable bottles, the 321 Water bottle’s filter lasts up to two months and can be used for 100 refills.
Customers can buy annual, monthly or bi-monthly refills and only need to replace the carbon block to minimize their environmental impact.
A recycled PET version of the bottle is also available. The recycled bottle is made from materials recycled in Australia, in collaboration with Visy Industries Australia Pty. Ltd.