Little Miss Green’s been sent a present to try. The kind people at Ethical Superstore sent us a designer drinking bottle – the Wottle by Britta to be precise. The design is by Orla Kiely and it’s called ‘stem’.
The bottle holds 500mls so is useful for carrying around during the day.
Here’s the scoop: “BRITA and Orla Kiely were committed to creating a bottle that was not only practical and stylish, but also had impeccable ethical credentials. The Wottle is made from 100% recycled materials, including HDPE plastic. To keep its carbon footprint to a minimum it is made exclusively in the UK, ensuring water drinkers can combine style with environmental responsibility.”
Here’s what we found out after our zero waste towers road test
- The packaging is perfect – each bottle comes in recycled cardboard using vegetable inks. The packaging can easily recycled again and is not excessive.
- The Wottle helps close the loop by utilising recycled materials.
- The look – these bottles have the eye candy (although men would probably disagree). However, I’ve seen it in a green print too, so perhaps that would be more manly.
- There are some good messages on the packaging such as ‘refill not landfill’ and the fact we should all stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Made in the UK, so groovy air miles.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Wide neck for easy refilling and cleaning.
- Any product that helps us reduce the need to buy mineral water in plastic bottles gets the thumbs up from us!
- The carrying loop – unless you’re a hobbit you can’t really carry it properly because the loop is tiny. Brita go to extravagant lengths to show you three ways to use the carrying loop, but to be honest all are useless. It’s simply something that gets in the way when you’re trying to drink from it.
- The packaging does not give full instructions about recycling the bottle at end of life. All it says is ‘Made from recycled materials.’ It doesn’t tell you which ones or how to dispose of it responsibly.
- Lid is not suitable for dishwasher. We don’t have a dishwasher but if I did no doubt I would forget about separating the bottle and top and put them both in. (Tell me, what does happen to the lid in a dishwasher?)
- Price. I personally would rather spend £7.95 on a stainless steel bottle than a plastic one. Additionally, paying extra for a designer name on a water bottle doesn’t excite me.
There is no information on the packaging or advertising material about what the bottle is actually made from. As you know, I like to get to the bottom of things and uncover the facts.
What I discovered was the bottle is made from HDPE which is closed loop recycled from the factory. So far so good; that’s the same as milk bottles and is easily recyclable.
The finger grip, however, is made from TPE (Thermoplastic elastomer) and the lid is made from PP (polypropylene). I’m told the whole lot is “marked as plastic type 2 for recycling purposes”.
Does this mean a little contamination is allowed?
I’m no scientist, but a little reading on wikipedia tells me that thermoplastic elastomers, sometimes called thermoplastic rubbers, are a class of copolymers or a physical mix of polymers (usually a plastic and a rubber) which consist of materials with both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties.
Wikipedia go on to say “Advantages are TPE materials have the potential to be recyclable since they can be molded, extruded and reused like plastics, but they have typical elastic properties of rubbers which are not recyclable owing to their thermosetting characteristics.”
So I’m still none the wiser.
Suggestions for improvement
- With a little more design thought, the carrying loop could have been made longer to allow the average person to get a few fingers in there for carrying in comfort.
- The first thing Little Miss Green did was push the strap over the cap. She couldn’t use it for carrying because of the design so decided it wasn’t a carrying handle and it was, in fact, to keep you from losing the cap. This is a brilliant idea, but then when she twisted the cap around the carrying strap got caught up. Making a way to avoid a child losing the cap would be a great design improvement.
- The bottle could be ergonomically designed. It’s quite heavy when full and makes it hard to hold because the sides are perfectly smooth – there are no indentations to rest your hand naturally. I think young children would find the full bottle could slip out of their hands. So let’s add a few sexy curves to make it sit in the hand easier.
- The second thing Little Miss Green did was fill the bottle with fizzy water. When I came back to it a few minutes later the bottom of the bottle had blown out and the bottle changed from ‘wottle’ to ‘wobble’. Eventually the bottle fell over, so it’s not suitable for fizzy drinks. The manufacturer doesn’t actually say this on the packaging. By changing the base this could be overcome. Fizzy drinks that come in plastic bottles have a flower design on the bottom that prevent the base losing its shape.
I think the Wottle is a half baked idea and as such I’m awarding it 2.5 out of 5.
On the surface it has some great credentials – I LOVE the fact it is made in the UK and is closing the loop – remember, the more we buy recycled products, the more demand we create for recycling materials. The neck is wide which makes cleaning and filling easy and the packaging is ideal.
However, there are some design faults which could be improved. The carrying loop is next to useless and made from this Thermoplastic elastomer which, surely, is unnecessary. Couldn’t the carrying loop be made big enough for the average sized hand AND be made from a more readily recycled material? Or it could be designed to stop a child losing the cap. OR it could be missed off altogether. With the addition of a sexy hip and waist curve, the bottle would be much easier to hold and it needs to be made clearer that fizzy drinks are a no-no.
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