According to the founder of Waiakea, Ryan Emmons, the process of making an entirely degradable bottle took them five years and over 1200 experiments. Nonetheless, the process was not that expensive. Emmons says it is something that other water and beverages companies can adapt to come up with environmentally friendly bottles.
Waiakea will introduce the bottles into the market next year. This is after a successful acquisition of patent rights to use TimePlast’s Nano-additive that will reduce the life of plastic bottles from 1500 to about 15 years. The bottles will still maintain the integrity of a regular plastic bottle I term of shape and strength and can also be recycled. The most significant challenge that Waiakea faced was on solvation and oxidation of the bottles. Trying to achieve a 98% degradability has a significant effect on the integrity of the bottle. Another major problem was obtaining the patents; the first ever patent to be given to any company in the USA.
Previous research on polymers concentrated on making the plastics stronger. Waiakea, on the other hand, focused on making the weak plastics while at the same time strong. Waiakea turns the containers into degradable wax reducing the ecological life shelf of the bottles.
Waiakea was started in 2012 by a then 22 years old Ryan Emmons. He realized the opportunity while on one of his family vacation to Hawaii. The water they drank while there was pure and very tasty. Since Emmons’ family had access to Mauna Loa Volcano which Ryan decided to use to come up with water that is healthy and eco-friendly.
Waiakea water is filtered naturally by the volcanic rocks of the Mauna Loa Volcano. Waiakea gets the water from a very remote area away from human population and pollution. The water is purely alkaline with a good ph level and abundant minerals and electrolytes such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium. The water contains silica as well.
Waiakea is has partnered with Pump Aid to give water to areas that experience water shortage. They donate 650 liters of clean water in rural areas of Africa. Waiakea is the first beverage companies to go green. It has been certified as Carbon Neutral due to the technology applied when manufacturing the packaging bottles.