Why Gobi?

Our initial question was “why do we have to generate waste for drinking water outside of our homes? ”

This question led us to wonder if we could drink water in a different way. Through this particular approach, the conventional bottle was reinvented, and it was done so by creating a community and a network!

In order to hydrate ourselves, we typically use a glass when at table, a bottle when hiking, disposable cups and bottles for all other needs: office, cinema, school, train, etc. All those needs generate a growing number of 2 billion bottles and cups which are thrown away each year. This represents about 16 lbs. of bottles per year per person, of which 20% are of small and medium sizes; the economic gain is meager compared to the ecological footprint.
Wasting is a habit of the past, and while observing the existing reusable solutions, we wondered why plastic cups and single-use bottles were still in part of our lives.
Three reasons were identified:

1- Design

Water bottles and reusable bottles are generally designed for mountain sports, the outdoors. And do not naturally fit into the everyday life of the office and the city. They also bring about additional problems such as personalization: Who is the owner of that particular bottle?

2-Mobilization

Today, it is not enough to say “It’s better for the environment” to be accepted. The change must be eased in, as it is often viewed as a constraint by companies. Past attempts to replace cups in companies failed in most cases.

3- “Network”

Access to water without packaging is very difficult. Most of the time, the locations of fountains and water points are unknown or hard to access, and places offering free water are still a rare thing.
Gobi’s creators had these issues in mind. Their innovation lies in the combination of the product and its ecosystem. The aim is to change the habits of the consumer and establish a new way to drink water.
Gobi wants to contribute to the waste prevention policy , which is also a priority of the ADEME, under the Grenelle guidelines and the EU waste policy.
We wish to enroll in local prevention plans that are established in local communities, and contribute to projects of eco-districts and eco-cities and, above all, create a community of users and a broad network of various partners.

Today, we should reduce our impact by creating clean solutions for the community, instead of having to worry about recycling or “biodegradable” once those solutions are deeply rooted in our. Our idea is about changing the system instead of correcting it.
Recycling is good but avoiding the process altogether is better.

The idea for “Gobi” came from observing daily habits and the will to help most people as possible. By using your Gobi every day, you not only reduce wastes but your new habit, combined with that of many people will have an incredible impact for the betterment of the environment.

We observed our habits, those of our colleagues, families and our surrounding, interrogated and identified two trends: Cups and plastic bottles. An expert behaviorist helped us in this task to identify patterns, the general representation of water consumption and its origins.

Our designer Cédric Ragot and his team worked by tapping in different sources of inspiration with form, hygiene and function in mind. We then had a group of 100 volunteers who brought their input in the process. Gobi is the first reusable bottle which is perfectly adapted to office work, commuting and our daily activities. Its salient features are:

  • It is transparent, which ensures the users of its content and the quality of the water inside.
  • It is light (0.3 lbs.) and its size (8.3 inches) allows it to fit in most handbags and backpacks, while stocking almost 14 oz. of liquid which is corresponding to the average water consumption during a work day or afternoon.
  • It has a simple, large and accessible neck that everyone can drink from. This also makes Gobi easy to fill and clean.
  • It has a patented customization system which will help people at school or at work to differentiate their Gobi among thousands.
  • It has a handle which makes it easy to carry or hang.

Gobi’s design willfully create a new divide, away from equipment made for the sports and hiking environments in order to better fit into the our city lifestyles.

Gobi is a classic case of eco-design:

  • A program of research and four months of tests were conducted to identify environmental and health concerns;
  • We worked with the Mu cooperative to assess the environmental impacts associated with the life cycle of Gobi. This allowed us to validate Godi as a powerful solution for several meaningful indicators such as resource depletion, emissions to the air, water and soil. To ensure hygiene while avoiding wasting water, we worked by following the recommendations of sanitation and environmental specialists from “Proj&eau” (a project created in June 2008 which main objectives are to improve water resources management) and analytical laboratories.

Finally, preventive eco-design allowed us to identify ways to optimize the packaging: it will be minimal for Internet shopping and “massified” for deliveries in B2B.

Gobi is BPA-free and reusable for several years. Large investments for research were made to solve the choice of the main material of Gobi. We had two major requirements:

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  • Safety: The most common plastics (i.e : BPA, phthalates ) have raised concerns in recent times and have led us to renounce polycarbonate (BPA) and PET ( and also to rPET, the most recycled type of plastic, in reply to interrogations about antimony, formaldehydes and endocrine disruptors ) and seek innovative alternatives.
  • The life span: the more you use Gobi, the longer you avoid generating waste. Gobi should be made of solid, quality material that stands the test of time and repeated washes. Gobi should be another proof that plastic doesn’t have to equate to shoddy..

Our research program consisted in establishing of listing materials that would meet our self-imposed constraints and rank them based on the outcome of an environmental impact analysis. We worked with three types of experts:

  • R&D engineers from the European Center of Plastic.
  • A PhD of pharmacy specialized on safety issues with plastic materials
  • And finally, a specialized laboratory on health issues related to water and its containers.

This research program led us to abandon the agro-based materials (derived from plants) because none of them met our strength and durability requirements, while proving to be too demanding in environmental terms. We wanted non-GMO plants that did not require excessive amount of water or an excessively large exploitation of agricultural land.

We are closely following the development of agro-materials that would eventually validate for use with food and adapted to a reusable bottle. We also think it would be potentially counterproductive to suggest that a material is made to be simply “thrown into nature” due to its biodegradable nature.

Gobi is meaningful only if people use it. While manufacturing a durable commodity is certainly interesting, it is equally important to support the change in order to give birth to a new way of consumption.

To facilitate the integration of Gobi, we decided to offer services its users:
– Begobi, Gobi users online community
By joining the community of users, you will be able to share with other members of the network’s ideas and achievements in terms of customization. It is also able to see aggregated waste reductions by all members of the community, so everyone is aware of their contribution to the change.
Discover BeGobi, the Gobi users community !
A map of water points : Adopting Gobi only works if it is easy to find water when traveling in the city. To support the development of Gobi, we are developing a mapping solution of fountains and access points to water throughout France.
This information will be available on the Internet and through mobile applications on all major platforms (iPhone, Android, WindowsPhone)
Discover “Eaupen” ( read “Open” , “eau” is French from water ) the network of water points!
These two initiatives seemed necessary for us to promote a sense of belonging to a community, in order to increase the use of the Gobi. A Gobi user is not an isolated individual. He belongs to a collective movement with a concrete impact in terms of waste prevention. He also has the ability to participate and interact with other users to enhance their interest in the device.
Every motivated user can also get more involved by helping to discover new places that can host water sources open to all: shops, association, etc. Any Gobi user can become an ambassador of the change.

Découvrez BeGobi, la communauté des utilisateurs de Gobi !

– Une cartographie des points d’eau
L’adoption de Gobi ne fonctionne que s’il est facile de trouver de l’eau lors de ses déplacements en ville ! Pour accompagner le développement de Gobi, nous sommes en train de développer une solution de cartographie des fontaines et points d’accès à l’eau partout en France.
Ces informations seront disponibles sur Internet et par l’intermédiaire d’applications mobiles sur les principales plateformes (iPhone, Android, WindowsPhone)

Découvrez Eaupen, le réseau des points d’eau !

Ces 2 initiatives nous semblent nécessaires afin de favoriser la naissance d’un sentiment d’appartenance à une communauté, qui démultiplie l’usage du Gobi. L’utilisateur n’est pas dans une démarche isolée,mais appartient a un mouvement collectif avec un impact concret en termes de prévention des déchets. Il a la possibilité – facultative – de participer et d’échanger avec les autres utilisateurs, pour renforcer son intérêt dans le dispositif.

L’utilisateur peut aussi s’investir davantage, en signalant les espaces non répertoriés dans sa ville, et en proposant d’autres lieux qui pourraient accueillir des points d’eau ouverts à tous : boutiques, association, etc. L’utilisateur devient alors ambassadeur de la solution.