Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Cove

The world's first biodegradable water bottle


Entirely plastic-free, the bottle is non-toxic and available via online invitation

Spotted: Faced with falling rates of plastic recycling worldwide, material innovation company Cove has created a completely compostable water bottle. Made from a naturally occurring biopolymer called polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), the water bottle is completely non-toxic and entirely plastic-free, including the cap.  

PHA is made through a fermentation process similar to that of yoghurt and beer production. Microorganisms are fed locally sourced organic waste materials such as sugar and vegetable oil. When the material hardens, it becomes reusable many times, just like a typical single-use plastic bottle. Cove estimates that its water bottles have approximately 80 per cent of the shelf life of a typical fossil fuel-based bottle – and without any of the environmental damage. 

Cove sources materials as nearby as possible and uses an algae-derived ink for its printing. Packaging is kept to a minimum, and the company is working towards using only renewable energy for its production processes. Right now, since the bottles are produced using traditional electric grid power, Cove offsets its emissions. 

The bottle is reusable many times. Once it is no longer needed, it can be home composted. If plants, animals, or humans ingest any part of the bottle, no harm is done as PHA is found in most living organisms. It can therefore be metabolised naturally, unlike the microplastics that currently clog much of the human food chain.  

Cove water bottles are available via invitation and interested shoppers can sign up to the waitlist on the company website. After completing a production run, the company emails out invitation codes for online purchase. The bottles are also available in a small number of California grocery stores, and medium to longer-term development plans include expanding stockists and shipping internationally.  

The scale of the world’s plastic pollution requires myriad innovations working towards the same goal. In Springwise’s archive, examples include a hard-wearing backpack made from recycled plastic and captured carbon and a device that uses soundwaves to clean microplastics from water.

Written By: keely Khoury




Download PDF