Saving 1 billion PET bottles before 2030? This Dutch scale-up is well on its way
By: Hanah van der Korput
The PET bottle was invented almost 50 years ago. The bottles are made of oil and are therefore not exactly sustainable. And we still find them a lot as litter. The Aquablu company has set an ambitious goal: to save 1 billion plastic bottles by 2030.
To achieve this, the company has developed a water tap. The taps can simply be connected to the tap water and purify contaminants such as PFAS, chlorine and microplastics from the water. “We really want to offer a good alternative to bottled water,” says Marnix Stokvis, co-founder of Aquablu. “Unfortunately, the tap water is not as good everywhere as in the Netherlands. People don't know whether they can trust the Spanish or Portuguese water, so the majority of people buy another plastic bottle for safety reasons. You can connect our tap to tap water anywhere, after which the water is filtered. This way we guarantee safety and tap water can really compete with packaged water.”
The water taps are used in offices, among other things. A partnership was recently launched with Selecta, one of the largest food and beverage distributors in the workplace. “With Selecta, we are going to install taps in office buildings across sixteen European countries,” says Stokvis. “We can make a serious impact.”
Stokvis can roughly calculate how big that impact is. “This is really a rough estimate, but to give you an idea: suppose we save 150 plastic bottles per day per water tap in a large office. Let's say that such a tap is operational two hundred days a year. If we install a thousand taps, that is already 30 million plastic bottles every year. We want to save 1 billion PET bottles before 2030. Thanks to the collaboration with Selecta, we are well on our way”, says Stokvis.
The water taps provide insight into the number of plastic bottles saved at any time. Stokvis: “Based on the usage data, we keep our customers informed. We send an overview stating how many plastic bottles and costs they have saved by using the water tap compared to the old situation. We also make the CO2 reduction tangible in this way. It is also very handy for us: the moment there is a malfunction, we can take a look online. We do not always have to send a technician.”
In addition to water, Aquablu also offers alternatives to soft drinks in packaging. “Plastic use for water is skyrocketing. This also applies to soft drinks,” says Stokvis. “We want to offer a cleaner and healthier alternative to soft drinks. Our taps can add carbon dioxide to the water. In addition, we have developed sugar-free flavors for in the water, such as Fresh Lemon or Red Fruits.”
Of course, the development of water taps is accompanied by raw materials and the necessary CO2 emissions. “The water taps are produced in the Netherlands. In particular, we get all heavy parts as close to home as possible. This saves unnecessary heavy transport and transport. In addition, we can read per water tap how much plastic we save. That saves plastic, but also transport and cooling. This makes the bottom-line impact positive,” says Stokvis.
This should be scaled largely
Awesome. A solution which is welcomed and to be embraced all over.
Wow! That's encouraging