Jerry Bottle: Reusable Water Bottles With A Social Impact
In the quest to protect the environment, modern society's obsessive use of plastics has come under fire. The main issue is that plastics don’t biodegrade, so they sit in landfills or fill up our oceans and pollute our environment. One small change that everyone can make is investing in a reusable water bottle and limiting the use of single serve plastic ones (in the UK we get through 13 billion plastic bottles each year – over 200 per person!).
One of our favourite reusable bottles has to be the stylish steel ones by Jerry Bottle. What makes them different to other reusable bottles you ask? Well, 100% of their profits goes straight into funding water projects around the world, helping those with limited or no access in under developed countries. If you look at the bottom of each bottle, you will see the coordinates of the water project you have funded, so you can trace exactly which village your bottle is funding – how cool is that?
We speak to one of the co-founders Harun Master to find out a little more about Jerry Bottle, the social impact they are making, and some of the obstacles they’ve faced so far:
What inspired you to create Jerry Bottle?
After starting up my own charity Waterfall in 2011, building wells, pumps and water filtration systems in underdeveloped countries, I wanted to find a way to generate money to fund the charity that went beyond simply asking people for a donation. I happened to meet social entrepreneur Tobias Gould, who suggested an avenue of social enterprise that I didn’t know about, and a way to combine my and my co-founder Taj Bhamra’s business backgrounds with social impact. Tobias joined forces with us, and in 2016 we created Jerry Bottle, a way to bring water to those that don’t have it by making it more special to those that do. I’ve been in business for over 20 years and I’ve never felt so passionate about doing something as I do with Jerry Bottle.
The name itself was inspired by ‘Jerry Cans’ - containers many people in developing countries use to haul and store their water. We thought the name Jerry gave the bottles a nice personality!
How is Jerry Bottle making a positive impact around the world?
We have three social outputs from selling Jerry Bottles:
- All profits go to water projects in India & Africa via the Waterfall charity (our initial intention behind creating Jerry Bottles)
- Campaigning to move away from using plastic bottled water and ease the environmental issues of landfill and plastics in our oceans. World economies are pumping out so much plastic that we will have more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050! Switch to using a Jerry Bottle and you can stop using single use plastic bottled water
- Educating people on the benefits of drinking more water. Something that stood out to us after starting the company, is how little some people drink on a day to day basis, so we decided to focus on getting more people, particularly kids, to drink more water. We work with schools, universities and companies to promote a healthy water habit.
It’s amazing how much impact one simple water bottle can have.
What has been the greatest obstacle to your business?
One of the biggest challenges has been the lack of knowledge of social enterprises in the UK. People don’t realise we are a non-profit organisation and don’t make much money from our bottles and any money we do make goes on funding our projects and campaigning, so it requires a lot of education. Regardless of the social impact the bottles are having, i.e saving on plastics, saving the environment and essentially saving lives, retail buyers still focus on the monetary value and want them for next to nothing. This can be disheartening, but we try to focus on buyers who understand and believe in the social impact as they are more likely to want to sell the bottles for positive reasons.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
When we first launched last year, Jerry Bottles were featured as ‘one of the coolest products in the world’ by GQ magazine. Funnily enough we didn’t find out until 3 weeks later, but it’s a nice bit of recognition to see your product featured by one of the top magazines as soon as you launch it.
We have also just completed 100 hand pumps in West Bengal, India impacting 5,000 people and have provided 24 hour water supply to a main hospital on Pemba Island, Zanzibar whilst before they had a 3 hour supply! It’s incredible to see the difference we can have in just one year, and look forward to maximising this as we grow.
Where do you see the business in 10 years’ time?
We have some more products launching in the not too distant future that will suit different lifestyles so we are getting pretty excited about that.
The dream is to take Jerry Bottle global by supplying the whole world with water bottles and making a positive impact into the world water crisis by lessening the amount of plastic in our oceans and land.
Find out more on the Jerry Bottle website.
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