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🗣️ "Leading the Hydration Revolution"

The Stream

Photo by Bluewater Sweden / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Hosts: Will Sarni & Tom Freyberg
Guest: Pierandrea Quarta | CEO & Founder | REBO
Category: 🗣️ Opinion

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[4:15] “Plastic was kind of the segue to get into water. Because as you look at the problem of plastic waste, you quickly realize it is on the consumer side. Plastic water bottles are playing a very, very important role in a negative sense. We're using a million plastic water bottles every single minute and there is a huge percentage that just ends up in the ocean. And a very tiny percentage on the other hand, it gets recycled. So when I said I want to do something in the space, I was very quick in coming to the conclusion that water was perhaps the most impactful sector or segment I can get into with a product that could help cut down on the use of single use plastic for drinking water.”

[5:06] “We started in 2016. And I believe we announced that in the World Economic Forum in 2017. […] It was the first product launch ever done in the World Economic Forum. And we did it in partnership with a company that is near very dear to me, that is called TerraCycle.”

[10:31] “I remember […] having a chat some time ago, about the impact that you can have with partnerships with companies that today are the big polluters, that are the bad ones. And the truth is, big companies are the ones that can really drive the change, and the ones that should drive the change. So if we can help them to do that, and if we can partner to enable them to accelerate that transition, then I think there are a lot of great things that can come out up there.”

[12:21] “We started developing the product right when COVID started. So it was really hard, because our production happens in China, which is where the very big majority of stainless steel bottles are made, where a lot of microchips and semiconductors are coming from. And so that's why we decided, also from a sustainability standpoint, to centralize it all in the same place. But it was a place we cannot travel to. We have never met physically with our business partner there. So we were trying to run this kind of hardware development at distance. And I mean, we did it in the end, but I guess it took much longer than it would have, if we had been able to just fly there and be present, sometimes. So that was definitely a very big challenge.”

[14:44] “We're in the market. There is about 10,000 products that have been delivered to consumers. We've done a great partnership with Adidas. Adidas is a leading sports brand player that kind of wanted to get more into the word of sustainability, […] particularly in the way that this could connect also to all the wellness information that is generated from different apps to make sure that sport is done in the right way.”

[22:42] “We decided to launch a product that does not do filtration, because we're providing other benefits that we thought were very relevant for consumers. Now, it's really hard to say which one is more relevant […]. But what we see in the market is that there is three main forces that are happening. Consumers are trying to change. So they're switching as much as they can, in some cases significantly, from single use kind of solutions into more durable ones. And they're doing this by also equipping their houses and equipping their offices with solutions that enable them not to use those single use plastic bottles. I think there is a public push as well in banning plastic in a lot of places single […], but also in improving the quality of water that you can get out of your tap.”

[23:51] “And last but not least, there is a big push from the private sector as well. So if you look at the big companies, […] the market of water bottles is dominated by Nestle, Coca Cola, Pepsi and Danone. So if you look at these four companies, they are all in to a bigger or smaller extent, trying to find solutions to look into different ways of providing hydration to people. These are often resulting in out of home dispensing solutions, […] like water kiosks, water stations, water ATMs, dispensing water machines, you can call them in different ways. But essentially what they are is a next generation of vending machines, where instead of selling you the bottle with the liquid, they would just sell you the liquid. And that liquid needs a bottle of course in order to capture it. And so that's really the kind of transition in which we want to play. And what is really interesting about these machines is they are not necessarily just giving water, but they will give you water with electrolytes, with the vitamins, with flavors, with carbonation […]. So, as a matter of fact, these can really be a great alternative to soft drinks. So eventually pushing the boundaries also in the health of people in terms of what they drink.”

[28:19] “What's interesting is a lot of times we talk about the big polluters, they tend to be in Southeast Asia. Those countries that are said to be the biggest contributor to the problem of ocean plastic, because there is a lot of plastic that leaks into the ocean from those countries. And so that is true to a certain extent […] because there are no waste management facilities that are good enough to prevent that plastic from leaking into the environment. But the sad bit of that part is that a lot of that plastic that leaks into the environment is actually exported from countries that would have those waste management problems. […] The US has been exporting a lot of that into Southeast Asia. […] I'm saying this because a lot of times the poor countries with little waste management get a lot of the blame. So a lot of times the ones to blame are the more developed ones.”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 32 min | 🗓️ 10/20/2021
✅ Time saved: 30 min