Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: Clean Water and a Cleaner Earth – One Drop At A Time

August 13, 2015

As a B Corp certified company, UncommonGoods is excited about sustainability. That means more to us than just being “green” – we strive to offer products that reflect the environmental and social best-interests of everyone. So, when our makers are as concerned with sustainability as we are, we’re always excited to learn more about their process and the positive impact they’re having on the world.

While many of our makers rely on sustainable practices at one point or another in their process, we’re especially excited about those who place the wider world at the forefront of their craft – those who are making an uncommon impact. Continuing the water theme from our interview with Margaret Dorfman, we spoke with Vince Purino – the Vice President of Aquaovo – about the sustainability implications surrounding the new Adventure Filter Water Bottle.

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Vince Purino – Vice President of Aquaovo – with the Alter Ego Adventure Filter Water Bottle

“Sustainability to us is simply being accountable for the well-being of the Earth’s limited resources… in our case water.”

The Adventure Bottle was designed by Aquaovo cofounder Manuel Desrochers as an eco-chic solution to replacing bottled water. “Our goal is to enhance the experience of drinking water with beautifully designed objects that pay homage to this precious resource,” said Vince.

 

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Manuel Desrochers, designer of the Adventure Filter Water Bottle

“The most important part of this sustainability story is that this product is designed for people in urban areas who want a serious water filter that will filter their tap water on a daily basis,” said Vince. “If they want to go to a river or lake on the weekend, no problem. If they need to go on a trip to the Amazon for a month, they can have access to clean, safe, good-tasting water. But in reality we are trying to ‘trick’ people into filtering their water in the city vs. buying plastic bottled water.”

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The Aquaovo filter is just about the strongest filter on the market; originally intended for use by humanitarian workers in countries where clean water is not accessible, it will filter 99% of bacteria and viruses like other filters, but will also remove urban industrial contaminants like chlorine by-products, THC’s, arsenic, pharmaceutical residues, lead, mercury, copper, aluminum, and radon. If people have reservations with or don’t like the taste of their tap water, they have a sustainable – and portable – solution.

Drinking bottled water seems harmless enough; you get really thirsty while away from home base and the public water fountain looks like it’s seen a bit too much action, so you make a run to the nearest bodega and guzzle down a Disani. Maybe the bottle makes it into the recycling – but it’s far more likely that it doesn’t; 80% of bottles in the US don’t. On top of the accumulated waste, it takes more than 50 million barrels of oil to pump, process, transport, and refrigerate bottled water each year, which is 2,000x the energy input of tap water. Bottled water thus costs 300-2,000x more than tap water – and twice the cost by volume of a gallon of regular gasoline.

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It’d be easy to fill volumes with social math condemning disposable water bottles as inefficient and destructive to our environment. Plus, almost half of what is sold as bottled water is actually just bottled municipal – tap (!) – water, produced with tax dollars and then sold to the consumer at an inflated cost. If you buy bottled water often, it’s time to make the change.

On top of the enormous environmental benefits of its product, Aquaovo is equally dedicated to helping achieve better social equity related to water security. The bottle provides a source of clean water for its user, but each unit sold also helps support clean water access for your ‘alter ego’ in a developing country through the charity One Drop.

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One Drop is currently working on initiatives in India, Latin America, and Burkina Faso. Learn more about their projects here >>

“By buying the bottle, you will be affecting your alter ego across the world as well as drinking and cleaning your tap water in an environmentally sustainable way,” said Vince.

The alter ego concept highlights a universally equal human need for water despite infrastructural inequality surrounding access to potable sources. For every bottle sold, Aquaovo donate’s part of their profits to the water charity, which helps to create a long term stream of income for people in need of fresh water around the world via microfinance and seeks to change behavior surrounding water use via culturally-specific arts and education programs. Check out more about One Drop here >>

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One Drop supports education and arts programs to influence behavior change, part of it’s ABC for Sustainability approach. Learn more here >>

I asked Vince where in the natural world he would visit, and his response was dripping with enthusiasm for water filtration:

“The Amazon forest has always captured my imagination with its lush vegetation and millions of diverse animal species… now I have a portable filtering solution to travel the forest with safe, clean water.”

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So, whether you’re trekking deep in the wilds of Amazonia with Vince, cruising around the city, or making preparations for a nuclear/zombie/bio-weapon apocalypse, it’s time to ditch the disposable bottles… but not literally – it’s time to ditch ditching said bottles by not buying them at all!

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