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Has an inventor made the eco-unfriendly plastic bottle obsolete?

- Amy Bryant

An eco-friendly alternativ­e to plastic bottles

ON THE DAY newspapers reported that a plastic bag had been found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench – 36,000ft below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, and the furthest down of countless pieces of man-made debris littering the world’s deepest ocean trench – I spoke to James Longcroft, the creator of a water bottle that, when its user is done with it, will leave no long-term trace on the environmen­t. The deep-water carrier is yet another shocking example, he says, of the global plastic problem – ‘but plastic itself isn’t bad’, he stresses. ‘It simply does its job too well, and it’s up to us to do something with it after we’re finished with it.’

Longcroft founded Choose Water two years ago, selling bottled water and donating all profits to the charity Water for Africa. But the vessels themselves were a sticking point. ‘Plastic bottles crop up everywhere, even where you don’t expect to see them,’ he says. So Longcroft developed a replacemen­t, its outer casing made from used paper donated by businesses (shredded, de-inked and cleaned), and its 100-per-cent-natural, biodegrada­ble waterproof liner made using a secret formula, with the patent pending.

After a year’s work, the bottle is now a fully functional prototype. A crowdfundi­ng campaign in May reached its target of £25,000 within 50 hours. ‘That gets us enough for base-level manufactur­ing,’ says Longcroft; additional funds raised will further help the production process. During recent promotiona­l photograph­y for the project, Longcroft found himself in the Thames, ‘with plastic bottles floating by’. His version can’t hit shelves fast enough.

 ??  ?? Non-biodegrada­ble materials find their way into oceans and rivers
Non-biodegrada­ble materials find their way into oceans and rivers
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