Starting next year, Waiakea water will be packed in fully degradable water bottles. The bottles, which are also fully recyclable, feature an added material known as Timeplast that incorporates nanoparticles to help in the degradation of plastic bottles. As a result, the new nano-additive in these bottles will significantly reduce the lifespan of the packaging bottle and thus ease overall environmental pollution.
A Degradable Plastic
According to the founder of Waiakea, creating the fully degradable bottle meant using a new approach when working with polymers. The reason why nanotechnology has not been previously explored concerning plastics is that scientific research has often been focused on making plastics stronger and not weaker regarding molecular composition.
In contrast, Waiakea has taken it upon itself to degrade the plastic bottle chemically by incorporating Timeplast nano-additive during the manufacturing phase. The final product is a re-engineered, fully degradable plastic with a minimal ecological footprint.
Challenges Along the Way
In the process of creating a nano-degraded plastic bottle but with the same attributes of a regular plastic, which took about half a decade and 1,200 experiments, the company faced a few challenges along the way. First, the aspect of preserving the integrity of the plastic bottle while disintegrating the complex plastic molecular bonds was not easy. Secondly, obtaining the first and only approved patent for a fully degradable bottle from the United States Patent and Trademark Office was also an uphill task.
According to Ryan Emmons, the CEO of Waiakea, the cost of the Timeplast nanotechnology additive is minor based on how it’s incorporated at the start of the manufacturing process. One pound of Timeplast additive can degrade one thousand pounds of plastic bottles.
Since its inception in 2012, Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water has grown exponentially. With a yearly growth rate of 170 percent, the company is currently valued at $10 million.
The source of Waiakea volcanic water is at the peak of the active Mauna Loa volcano, which arguably the purest place on earth. The water is rich in important minerals including, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which help the skin, bones, hair, and nails.
Waiakea has entered into a partnership with Pump Aid to donate about 650 liters of clean water to the needy for every Waiakea bottle sold.