Group plucks 85,000 kilos of plastic waste from beaches


Bluewater, the global Swedish water purification and beverage solutions provider for homes, HORECA, and public dispensing, has helped clean 85,000 kilograms (187,389.7 pounds) of plastic waste in the past three years from coastal areas – that’s the equivalent of approximately 7.1 million PET bottles. Working with Empower, an international Norwegian blockchain-enabled plastic recycling organization, the Bluewater initiative saw waste collected, sorted, and recycled in numerous African and Asian coastal areas, including Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.

“We are delivering on our pledge to collect 1 kg of plastic from coastal environments for every one of our sustainable bottles sold,” says Bluewater founder and CEO Bengt Rittri. The Swedish environmental entrepreneur, who founded Bluewater in 2013 intending to harness human ingenuity to halt the need for destructive plastic bottles and the microplastic they leech, noted that the plastic collected would be enough to fill over 7,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The Empower premise is simple; Incentivize people to recycle by giving them up to €0.30 per bottle returned and, at the same time, incentivize producers to participate by writing off an environmental tax. The Empower idea stems from Norway’s national plastic exchange system is incredibly effective – 97% of all plastic bottles are recycled, while the average in the US is around 30%.

Wlhelm Myrer, Empower CEO, says, “Blockchain allows for seamless tracking and monetization of plastic – even in third world countries where most of the population are unbanked. Tracking every aspect of the journey – from on-the-ground plastic pickup operations to eventual reuse in other products, allows an extremely high level of transparency attractive to a purpose-driven brand like Bluewater and consumers.”

Bengt Rittri believes that the problem of ocean plastic can be fixed using human ingenuity, which is why he is building an innovation-driven beverage organization focused on creative, conceptual approaches to what he calls ‘social water’, which is about changing attitudes and approaches to how people access and use water for drinking, cleaning, and washing.

“More and more people understand the threats posed by climate change and unsustainable use of throwaway plastics like single-use plastic bottles but don’t always realize solutions exist to many of the issues. At Bluewater, we’ve developed solutions to provide clean water on demand at home, work and play. Our approach helps end the need for single-use plastic bottles by using patented water purification technology, dispensing solutions, and sustainable bottles for people on the go or hydrating in a restaurant, canteen or hotel environment.