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Mobile refill stations that filter for contaminates and taste while earning income from digital advertising making water free to consumers.

I developed this idea to save on plastic water bottles and put delivery of water into the hands of people rather then corporations.

Photo of Nan Harris
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At WaterStop we believe recycling is not the ultimate answer. There are still enormous costs to the environment associated with collection and transportation to a recycling center, the process of reformatting the plastic into reusable sheets, then transportation to a factory for manufacturing of a new product and again transportation to its end user. Eliminating the need for plastic water bottles is our goal.

We have produced our first prototype with digital banners for sponsorship, educational and advertising opportunities. We intend to begin designs for the commercial unit in the upcoming months. This unit will include an LCD display for digital advertising and promoting our affiliate marketing program (making the cart financially viable), a WIFI hotspot will broadcast WiFi about 300 feet from the cart, a cooling system for the tank, baffles to reduce water sloshing, and an overall sleeker design (the basic unit is already designed to fit through standard doorways and elevators). 

The mobility of the cart is imperative to us; we like to say its, "accessibility through mobility" the wheels swivel and come with locking mechanisms providing maximum flexibility. All carts have an easily replaceable 4 stage filtration system and a UV light for taste (all parts are off the shelf for ease of maintenance). Filters need replacing after 2,500 gallons which equals a savings of 20,000 16oz plastic bottles per filter. Filters can be changed to address most common contaminates.

The cart tank holds 50 gallons of water, which provides approximately 400 16oz bottle refills, and can be refilled with a common garden hose from any water outlet. The carts two spigots are protected by a see-through shield to keep contaminates off as the water dispenses. Each time the spigot is activated an advertisement will appear on the LCD, this produces income from $1 to $6 per ad, with more income produced by the number of "impressions" (people) within viewing distance of the ad. There is additional income from sponsorship on the digital banners.

The cart runs on battery power, recharged by plugging in. Version 2.0 will have two batteries extending the power to 6-8 hours. A patio size solar umbrella will be designed to extend the battery time (and sell in stores like Walmart, Target etc.)

Idea Title

"Its like Bottled Water without the Bottle!"

Company / Organization Name

WaterStop Carts LLC


Where are you / your team located?

Both Oakland CA. and NYC NY U.S.

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

By eliminating the need for plastic bottles completely! We've designed a new delivery system that puts water delivery in the hands of people not bottling corporations.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Case #3 I live in a big city and find it impossible to find a clean source of water to refill my reusable bottle without using a public water fountain or a restroom sink! Both of which can be easily be contaminated and are kinda gross :) Buying bottled water seems to be my only option, but why should I pay so much for bottled water? What about urban poor or kids forced to buy water at schools? And what about all those empty plastic bottles I see strewn all over the city?

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

This is an idea for all cities around the globe. We will start with a national program for Schools and Universities in the U.S. These are the Aspirationals who make sustainability a part of their daily lives and will create a demand for our carts.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

We already have a request for Distribution Rights from Elkay and Aramark. The Director of Innovation at PepsiCo has expressed his interest and wants to know when we will be ready to talk. Biggest obstacle will be the competition we present to bottling organizations and the bottling agreements they have with organizations like Sports Venues. Venders who sell bottled water can replace lost income from the digital advertising. Free water will generate repeat business and a sustainable reputation.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.
  • Piloting: You have started to implement your solution as a whole with a first set of real users. You may have started to develop a business model for your idea, including identifying key customer segments, relevant partnerships, go-to-market strategy, and draft financials.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

Introductions to: investors so we can create Version 2.0 with the LCD and Wifi and conduct our pilot program in Flint MI. schools. Intros to corporations who will sponsor carts especially the tech industry. Finding CEO, COO with global experience. Introductions to organizations who will provide micro-loans for people, especially the urban poor, to purchase carts and become franchises. After the accelerator, we should have the knowledge and introductions to move forward with our national program.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

I had the idea when I was sitting waiting for a friend to go to a movie. I finished my bottle of water and realized it would be cheaper to buy a bottle from the food vendors then to buy one at the movie theatre. I had the simple thought that the food vendors should have mobile refill stations so we could refill bottles. It was such an obvious idea that I thought it must have been done already. After lots of research and talking to water experts, I sold my co-op in NYC and started the company.

Tell us about your work experience

30 years in the entertainment industry as a developer, producer/director. Creating a new idea or product is something I'm familiar with, notably on the development team for Nickelodeon, MTV and VHS

Please describe your legal and organizational structure



Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Nan!

Welcome to the challenge!

How do you plan to scale? How will you match supply and demand?

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