| 27 September 2021, Monday |

UAE engineers develop water bottles to tackle plastic waste

A team of engineers striving to slash plastic waste have developed recycled water bottles that can be folded to fit in a pocket or a purse, or even reused for drinking tea.

Angela Lopez Blanco, 23, from Spain and her Emirati teammates, Amna Al Ali and Ruwayya Al Mehrzi appealed commercial interest for their designs, which aim to shake up the world’s drinking habits.

Their project won the Ecothon Innovation Challenge, organized by sustainability specialists Masdar in collaboration with Nestlé, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an.

Nestle has already expressed interest in bringing the innovative water bottles to market.

The first design from the group, working under the name Re, was the ‘On the Go’ bottle that can be easily folded to fit inside a purse or even a pocket.

“We got the idea after interviewing people from different backgrounds and realised that low-income people use a lot of reusable bottles,” said Ms Blanco, an electrical engineering student at the University of Wollongong in Dubai.

She said the primary reason for this may not have been to protect the environment, but rather the cost of regularly buying new bottles of water.

The team thought of developing a bottle that can be reused and is easy to carry around, to help people save money and the planet.

“This is especially useful for people on the go, like athletes and students; it is foldable and light and has a trendy design,” said Ms Blanco.

The bottle cap is designed to change colour if there is bacteria present in the water.

“Originally it would be transparent, but if the water contains bacteria it changes colour; this is particularly useful during the pandemic when people are concerned about hygiene,” she said.