With our oceans in a state of disrepair and the world bordering on an environmental crisis, could James Longcroft be our knight in shining armour?
Saving the world one bottle at a time
James Longcroft, 27, is a British scientist who claims to have invented a water bottle with a difference. It’s plastic-free, single-use and most importantly, can decompose in as little as three weeks. The cynics (maybe even you) might say that it can’t be done, but hear the bottle out! Here’s how it works.
It’s made of sustainable, non-toxic materials that are completely biodegradable. The outer layer is created from recycled paper that has been donated to the cause. The real genius comes into play in the waterproof lining which is usually made of a thin layer of plastic; coffee shops have since come under fire for using these non-recyclable cups. However, Longcroft has designed a special, top secret material that is a mixture of biodegradable materials which stick to the outer layer, creating that all-important seal. The liquid will never be able to reach the paper whilst in the bottle, but once the whole thing is submerged in water, the breakdown process begins with immediate effect.
What’s more, the inner lining is actually beneficial for the environment. Longcroft told Good News Network that it has shown the effect of “neutralizing soil acidity and providing nutrients to aquatic environments”.
The most remarkable thing? Longcroft designed this groundbreaking bottle at his kitchen table. Not all heroes wear capes.
3 very short weeks
With plastic bottles usually taking hundreds of years to decompose, the unique selling point of this bottle is its ability to break down completely in just 3 weeks. Longcroft stated that the break-down process starts just hours after it has been thrown away in water or landfill. Sea-creatures might not have to look for their next meal as all the composed materials can be consumed by our watery friends.
What about the metal cap we hear you ask? This is also designed to rust and decompose within a year.
Why you should actually Choose Water
As well as the bottles being environmentally beneficial, the bottles can be kept in store for as long as plastic bottles and the production costs are not significantly more expensive than plastic bottles. On average, they will cost just 5 cents more per unit; expect to pay around $1.20 for a bottle. You could get your hands on one of them at the end of the year, if Longcroft’s project goes according to plan.
Up until this point, the bottle is beneficial for the environment and customer. As if this bottle wasn’t doing its ‘bit’ enough, all profits will go to Longcroft’s charity, Water for Africa. The charity assigns all its money to making clean water projects throughout the whole continent. But the bottle has quite a way to go before it is to appear on supermarket shelves.
Crowdfunding is their main source of capital, with the goal being to raise $34,000. However, just two days after releasing the campaign, the company had raised $11,000, almost a third of the dream figure. It’s certainly promising and Longcroft is just looking forward to getting the bottles on supermarket shelves.
“I have driven my fiancée mad trying to get the formula right. It was just a case of experimenting. We are really excited to get our bottles into people’s hands as soon as possible,” he said. “I want to provide an alternative to plastic. Even if our bottle is only half a per cent of all the bottles used, that is still millions of bottles.”
It’s certainly a project that could have a great deal of impact; a welcome thought considering the sad reality our environment is facing.
Sometimes the truth hurts
Eco Watch recently filed a report that makes for shocking reading. It states that if we carry on down our current path, the plastic pollution in the world’s oceans could triple in seven years. As a collective, we produce over 300 million metric tons of plastic each year, with most of it being dumped in the ocean. This is catastrophic to our marine wildlife, as the report states:
“There is extensive evidence that entanglement in, or ingestion of, plastics can cause injury and death to a wide range of marine organisms, including commercially important fish and shellfish.”
Edward Hill, of the UK National Oceanography Centre revealed to BBC News that, “The ocean is critical to our economic future. Nine billion people will be looking to the ocean for more food. Yet we know so little of what’s down there.” And it’s not just marine wildlife that will suffer, humans will feel the strain too. Coastal litter can breed bacterial pathogens like E. coli and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that if we consume seafood that has been living in a toxic environment, it will effect us directly as well.
Longcroft’s campaign might not replace plastic bottles completely, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
Photo credits: Evening Standard, Irish News and www.ch2oose.co.uk.