The market for bottled water contains a disproportionately high percentage of people eager to reduce their environmental impact, and as an alternative to disposable plastic containers, the personal bottle is pretty much a no-brainer. It’s swiftly becoming ubiquitous in the home, the car and the office. That’s why Eastman’s Tritan™ copolyester has become the go-to material for reusable bottles.
Water bottles have always retailed in the sporting goods department and though they’ve long since stopped being exclusively sport products, people still want something with the durability to survive in tough environments. They’re also demanding a level of aesthetic sophistication and grace similar to the carafe-like form of the Hydros bottle.
“We didn’t want to go with a flimsy PET-type bottle,” explains Hydros co-founder Jay Parekh. “We wanted something durable, that was shatterproof and dishwasher safe but we also wanted a material that exuded quality and longevity – because we’re asking people to pay a premium for a water bottle and they’re going to want to feel they’re getting their money’s worth.
“We knew we wanted a very sleek and clean aesthetic for the brand, and so we eliminated any unnecessary lines and clutter and focused on creating a very, simple and elegant design with flowing lines that were connected from the cap, the filter and the bottle in order to get that very striking, simple visual. Tritan™ was one of the very few materials that offered us the performance characteristics with the high presentation value and that glass-like appearance.”
It isn’t exaggerating to say that Jay Parekh is an expert in the field of drinking water.
While an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, the biomedical engineering student was president of his local chapter of Engineers without Borders, spending time in Honduras and Cameroon working on clean water projects. UPenn is also where he met fellow undergrad Aakash Mathur. Together they devised Hydros, now being sold across the USA, tapping into the growing LOHAS demographic (Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability) of affluent consumers with keen interests in social and environmental causes. It’s a demographic prepared to pay a premium price for a well-designed product but also one with strong views on what it wants. This is where Hydros’ unique filter comes into the picture.
“The biggest complaint we found with existing products was poor usability,” says Parekh. “The majority of users did not enjoy having to suck on the filter and squeeze a flexible polypropylene bottle in order to force water into their mouth. We realized that if we wanted to build a product that was a real, viable alternative to bottled water, we had to address this concern. We took a radically different approach, filtering the water as it enters the bottle.”
Using bespoke high-performance, anti-microbial technology with a carbon filter, the Hydros Fast-Flow Filter™ cap does the same job as a conventional filter found in the kitchen, but on a dramatically accelerated timescale. The 20-ounce bottle is filled and filtered in a matter of seconds. The filters are good for three months or 150 refills – but the bottle is designed to last a lifetime, for which the long-term scratch, scuff and haze-resistant Tritan™ is a perfect fit.
“It was an easy decision for us to make because a lot of the big water bottle companies have already switched to Tritan™ because of the BPA issue,” explains Parekh. It makes Tritan™ the de facto material for reuseable water bottles.”
The extrusion-blow-molded Hydros bottle is currently available in a range of five transparent shades, and for every person in America opting to drink filtered water with Hydros, somebody in a developing part of the world also gets to drink clean water. Hydros are committed to supporting clean water projects with $1 for every bottle sold. The village of Gundom in Cameroon is now enjoying the benefits of the Hydros program with others to follow.