Student's water bottles will help the world's poor

Aug 03, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A student is helping fund third-world African communities by designing an innovative eco-friendly water bottle.

University of Manchester PhD student Edwin Broni-Mensah has set up Give Me Tap, a business which allows green-conscious people to fill up with water at thousands of food and drink outlets.

Edwin, 25, an Applied Maths student, came up with the idea to save on buying expensive bottled water and reduce the number of being discarded.

Customers buy the Give Me Tap aluminium bottle and then can fill it up at any of the outlets in their area who have signed up to the scheme.

In Manchester, 41 restaurants and cafes have already signed up and Edwin is now hoping to spread the project to London and then further afield.

Businesses who sign up simply have to provide a water source - a fountain, water cooler, jug or tap - and can benefit from an increase in potential customer numbers as well as doing their bit for the planet.

Edwin hopes Give Me Tap will appeal to cyclists and other exercise fanatics, as well as workers and passers-by who want to keep hydrated.

Up to 70% of profits from the business will go directly to fund independent water projects in regions where it's needed most.

Currently, Give Me Tap is supporting the All4One Namibia Water Project to provide clean water to 1,200 people in that Kalahari area of the southern African country.

Born in Edmonton, North London, Edwin hopes after completing his PhD to work full-time on GiveMeTap.

He said: “Give Me Tap helps people reduce their and the waste from discarded plastic bottles, save money, and even helps shop owners too by increasing footfall into their premises.

“We are making water easily accessible to anyone, anywhere, any time both at home and abroad. Our message is sustainability - stay hydrated, reduce waste and save money.

“From this simple idea, we want to achieve great things. Our mission is to create the largest network of water providers in the UK, so that everyone can have a drink of water anywhere at any time.

“We can cut down the number of plastic bottles in landfills and reduce costs of expensive recycling programmes.”

An estimated 200 billion bottles of are consumed annually worldwide, which if lined up together would stretch to the moon and back 56 times.

Of the 13 billion plastic bottles consumed annually in the UK, only 10% are recycled with the rest going to landfills. Plastic bottles become waste only a short time after purchase.

Edwin credits Dr Martin Henery, a senior lecturer at The University of Manchester, as his mentor in the project.

He also received support from Manchester Central MP Tony Lloyd, who said: “Give me Tap is a great initiative to reduce the amount of plastic waste we create.

“Cafes, shops and bars that are willing to refill Give me Tap bottles across Manchester will help reduce the number of plastic bottles sold and the amount of plastic waste created. This is an excellent idea which I fully support and hope can be replicated across the country.”

Refill locations can be found at www.givemetap.co.uk .

Explore further: Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

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