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:
- 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.