The revolt against exorbitantly priced water bottles and their trail of unrecyclable waste is upon us – well for 5,000 backpackers this summer at least.
When bottled water first entered the market it was to mixed reviews; people liked the convenience but many (mainly older, wiser generations) were puzzled by the 100 percent-plus markup on a product that was cheap and readily available to Kiwis.
Sure, tap water was a tad on the metallic side and the anti-fluoride brigade have their reasons for shunning it, but come on – we’re hardly a third world country.
So, with slick campaigns and designs, the bottled water industry boomed and so too did the piles of Pump and H2Go bottles sitting in refuse stations around the country.
What was needed was a culture change and a bit of information about just how delicious our freely available tap water is in New Zealand, especially for those looking to explore our ‘clean, green’ land.
Enter Ryan Everton (you'll remember him from a previous story on his invention, the Globelet) and the Tiki Wai Tour.
From December his company will be launching an interactive answer to the tirade of disposable water bottle problems.
The Tiki Wai Tour will be offering 5,000 Globelet cups to backpackers who arrive in New Zealand as part of a campaign encouraging tap water use – as opposed to cheap and nasty plastic water bottles (which we know you say you’ll reuse but often don’t).
With a souvenir-like design and a QR code, the cups use a supporting free mobile app, website and text service to direct tourists on where they can find free, pure water as well as deals on many must-see places and hospitality venues on the tourist trail.
Everton’s objectives for the tour are multiple. But one is to remind travellers (and maybe even some Kiwis) of the safe, free and publicly available water at ovmore thaner 2000 destinations in our country.
Following on from this, with the keep-cup in tow, tourists will then help reduce demand for PET-based bottled water, which is not recyclable, and force them to take ownership of their consumption.
“At the moment all of our PET water bottles are exported to China for recycling and in some cases not at all,” said Everton.
“So New Zealand offered a great set up to trial this idea, with our pure water and many artisan aquifers.
“We hope to change the tourist mindset, that tap water is healthy and encourage a change in habits which they will return home with.”
Everton and his team had to actively engage with councils and other agencies to identify the 2000 water sites, some of which are at set amongst enviable locations like Fox Glacier and the Remarkables.
He chose to target the tourist market over this coming summer as a trial for what he hopes will be a consumer culture change across the country in the coming years.
The Globelet cups clip on to many tourist backpacks and are readily available to Nomads backpacker hostels, i-sites and through Stray tours.