Dopper sustainable drinking bottle
Water! It is essential in our lives and we drink it every day. Sometimes we drink tap water, but we also often buy PET bottles that are thrown away after use. The consequence is lots of plastic in the environment. To reduce waste and encourage people to drink tap water, a company called Dopper developed a water bottle. These water bottles, called Doppers, are produced by VDL Wientjes Emmen.
The initiative for the water bottle came from Merijn Everaarts, founder of Dopper, when he saw a documentary in 2009 on the amount of plastic waste that has entered the environment around the world. He was surprised that so many PET bottles are sold and that people so often choose bottled water over tap water. That gave him the idea to design a durable, easy-to-clean water bottle. A competition was held for the design of the Dopper in 2010, and the winning design was the brainchild of Rinke van Remortel. Rinke is an employee of VDL company Hapro International in Kapelle. In addition to his work at Hapro, Rinke is a freelance industrial designer. Once the design had been selected, Dopper went looking for a producer for these water bottles. Following a complex engineering process, VDL Wientjes Emmen proposed the best technical solution for injection moulding production of these water bottles.
After consultation with the designer and the company, VDL Wientjes Emmen made some minor adjustments to the design and began production. In total, the product consists of three different parts. The cap and the bottle (the coloured part of the Dopper) are made of polypropylene. The cup (the white part) is made of ABS. The cup also includes a sealing ring, to prevent the bottle from leaking. The seal is made of a soft plastic (TPE). Another interesting fact is that the cup is produced in a single step using the 2K (or ‘two shot’) injection moulding process, involving two different materials. The materials used for the VDL Wientjes Emmen water bottle all bear the ‘food approved’ label. That is to say that the plastic is suitable for use in the food industry. The water bottle is also dishwasher-safe.
From granule to bottle
The bottle is produced using plastic granules. The granules are heated, which liquefies the material. For the cap and the bottle a small amount of dye is added to the molten mass. Once the plastic has the right colour and temperature it is injected at high pressure (injection moulding) into a mould that has the shape of the part to be made. Four caps and two bottles are produced every minute. Once the separate parts have been produced they go to a sheltered workshop where the Dopper is assembled. Since the Dopper is made in various colours, it is important that the cap and bottle are of the same colour. The parts are also double checked for any irregularities. Each Dopper comes with a card that contains more information about the foundation supported by the company. The market is still growing and Doppers are now being sold worldwide. The design and implementation of the Dopper is so well-liked that the Dopper has since even received a Red Dot ‘Honourable mention’ in the Living category.
In addition to its goal of reducing plastic waste and encouraging people to drink tap water, the Dopper company has also established a foundation. For each Dopper sold, 10% of the net turnover goes to the Dopper Foundation. This foundation drills water wells, installs sewer systems and builds toilet buildings in third world countries. Other activities include giving lessons and guest lectures about water and plastic waste at Dutch primary and secondary schools and universities to raise awareness about tap water and the environment among pupils and students. Read more about the water bottle and the mission behind it at www.dopper.com.