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WaterBean purifies tap water to reduce plastic bottle waste


July 28, 2013

The WaterBean portable water filter

The WaterBean portable water filter

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It's a given that recycling waste products is a good thing. It's certainly better than sending our trash to landfill where it will sit rotting (or not, in the case of non-biodegradable waste) for decades to come. However, even better than recycling is to not create the waste in the first place. Bottled water is now big business, and more popular than ever before, but bottled water guzzles energy and creates waste that really doesn't need to be created. The WaterBean portable water filter offers one possible solution to the problem.

WaterBean is a portable water filter which "purifies" tap water. The word "purifies" is in quotation marks because WaterBean will not turn a dirty puddle into water you'd want (or be advised) to drink. Rather than being designed as a system for people in developing countries to use to make dirty water clean enough to drink, WaterBean is designed to persuade people who currently buy endless bottles of water to stick with one bottle for a long time.

According to WaterBean, the device cleans impurities such as "chlorine, odors and bad taste," as well as adding magnesium to the water. It can be fitted into any water bottle and potentially prevent up to 280 bottles (140 liters) heading for landfill every year. The filters, each of which lasts up to three months, contain granulated all-natural activated coconut carbon, which the company says is totally safe if ingested. The WaterBean itself is made from BPA-free materials and designed to never need replacing if it's well looked after.

Instructions for use are very simple; after inserting the filter you're advised to shake the bottle for about five seconds before gently swirling the water around for a short time. The longer the water is swirled, the better it will taste, or at least that's the theory. The old filters can be composted, thus adding to the green credentials of WaterBean.

We've featured several water-purification products with important, potentially life-saving properties previously here on Gizmag, including the LifeStraw and the NDūR Survival Straw. Both of these work by filtering harmful bacteria and micro-organisms out of water as it's sucked up from its source. WaterBean is not in the same league as those products in terms of purification capabilities, but that's not the intention here. It's aimed squarely at reducing the number of plastic bottles which currently end up in landfill, and that's a very valid goal.

According to Graeme Glen, the Japan-based entrepreneur behind WaterBean, the average person gets through 167 plastic bottles every year, which together produces 1.5 million tonnes of waste, partly because 75 percent of plastic water bottles don't get recycled.

The WaterBean is currently available through Indiegogo, with Glen seeking $35,000 by August 18. Pledges begin at US$12, which will get you one WaterBean with a filter included plus an extra filter pack (containing two filters).

The video embedded below shows Glen explaining the problem he's addressing with WaterBean, as well as his methodology behind the design and production of the product.

Sources: The WaterBean, Indiegogo

About the Author
Dave Parrack Dave is a technology journalist with a ravenous appetite for gadgets, gizmos, and gubbins. He's based in the U.K., and from his center of operations writes about all facets of modern and future technology. He has learned more in his five years writing for the Web than he did in 11 years at school, and with none of the boring subjects thrown in to the mix. All articles by Dave Parrack

I am glad to have chlorine added to the municipal water supply but I remove it with a filter pitcher. Fluoride which thankfully has been banned in much of the first world is still added to many American municipal water supplies.


In case tap water contains too much chlorine, just let it sit open (not capped) in the fridge for a couple of hours and it's gone.

No need to pay 100x more for bottled water.

Freyr Gunnar

Most bottled water is from the municipal supply anyway. I agree with the sentiment of reducing bottled water usage as the litter associated with bottled water is a blight on society adding huge amounts of plastic to landfills open spaces and our oceans. Somehow, a generation ago, people managed just fine without carrying water around with them. With regard to fluoride, this filter will have no effect but the whole fluoride controversy is artificially generated. Municipalities have added fluoride to water for decades with very positive effects on dental health, especially in children and the poor.

Roy Murray

Plastic bottles are mostly made from BPA plastics that mimic estrogen the harmone women have and need .The plastic bottles giving Estrogen mimickers causes hyper feminizing for women period starting for young girls of 8 and often acumulates in breasts and Ovarian regions and increases cancer in the estrogen regions .For men it leads to lowering of testosterone feminizing men with breast size increases testicular cancers and other effects like lack of ability to perform as males .The BPA estrogen mimicker materiel in Plastic bottles is increased dramatically with plastic bottle reuse as the each use of the plastic bottles will leach out more BPA.If this invention is to help exterminate the human race with not being able to reproduce then its a good bio weapon .They have to include a non BPA plastic insert liner for the bottles they intend to use to ensure this weapon of mass destruction is neutralized

Dsd Sds

re; Freyr Gunnar

They have introduced a modified chlorination system that is great for pools but the chlorine compound does not evaporate out of the water even if you boil it.

re; Roy Murray

Are you afraid you company with have to pay for the disposal of your toxic waste instead of selling it.

The problem with landfills is that so much stuff is put into them that would be better burned in properly scrubbed waste-to-energy incinerators, although the plastic might be better separated out for being turned into motor fuel.


It seems that a lot of water bottles used are while away from home, such as campgrounds, beaches, hiking, biking, etc. So fridge filters and the like are useless in such situations. Under the circumstances suggested above, I for one say it's one terrific idea. So, KUDOS for Graeme Glen and his associates for developing an environmentally and socially responsible prod uct.


Hi Slowburn

You may be interested to know that drinking water is fluoridated in the UK and we are happy about it. Our population is not quite so paranoid as in the good ol' USA.


Why is this better than the carbon filters that are currently available, where the water passes through the filter as you squeeze the bottle to squirt the water into your mouth? That provides water much faster.

David Leithauser

Um.. This is not a "water filter"

This does not remove anything from water other than odor.

This does not clean water.


Another way to reuse empty capped water bottles could be as lightweight flotation inside ship or houseboat hulls.


I seem to remember whole generations of people actually being able to survive without bottled water. And hundreds of generations before that surviving without tap water. Believe me, tap water in the US is safe to drink. I know, all the loonies will now tell me how it's too dangerous to drink tap water with all those chemicals while they are doing their free climbing.

Mike Kling

re; ezeflyer

It will work in any old boat. Like say an old aluminum canoe that does not have floatation chambers.


People who spend money on bottled water when they are already paying for a mains supply of properly treated water should not, IM very humble O, be allowed to play with matches.

Martin Winlow

TedF, only some of the UK has fluoridated water. As many people know, fluoride is an industrial waste product, which is very poisonous. There is no excuse for putting this in the water supply. Anybody who wants to use it for dental purposes can get this in toothpaste form. If it works at all. It is best applied topically to the teeth.Over-consumption of fluoride causes brown mottling and pitting of the tooth enamel. Who gives anyone the right to medicate other people against their wishes? Why not put Prozac in the water supply while you're at it? Come to think of it, check out one of the ingredients of Prozac: I'll save you the bother. The ingredient is fluoride. The best solution to this water problem is to buy a water filter, and refill a glass bottle.


As many as my fellow students do in the Netherlands, we reuse capped bottles extensively by filling it up with tap water, which is perfectly drinkable on the University, free and available at every spot.

Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret

I've been using a Bobble for about two years. It's a real filter and really exists. The water after filtering with the Bobble tastes fine to me and the filters last long enough to be good value for the money compared to buying bottled water. There's also less land fill: the bottle stays with you, but the filters themselves get disposed of somewhere! Finally, as this product is on the shelf already, there's no $ 35k seed money and no pledge needed. Sorry Waterbean.


Wow, this is all cool and modern, but I do wonder if traditional water filters work better for homes or offices? like, different kinds of faucet filters, for example: http://www.searchwaterfilters.com/pur/faucet-water-filter.php or, water filter pitchers, like http://www.searchwaterfilters.com/brita/water-pitcher.php or, maybe even water dispensers with filters like this one http://www.searchwaterfilters.com/brita/water-dispenser/brita-ultramax.php I guess the one listed here is good for portable water bottles?


Although the intention behind the idea is great, using plastic bottles over a long period of time is not a good idea. The water filter may be BPA free, but most bottles use BPA, or leech plastic after some use.

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