Reefill provides a cost-effective, eco-friendly alternative to bottled water. Members have unlimited access to cold, filtered tap water from a network of refill stations located in businesses like coffee shops, bakeries, and juice bars
Runs offline: no
Last update: Android 06/11/2016 (v. 1.0.2) – iOS 07/11/2016 (v. 1.0.3)
Website of the developer: Reefill
This application, which for the moment works only in New York, offers its users access to a network of fresh and filtered water dispensers located in affiliated retailers. These taps, made in Italy, are triggered by the Bluetooth of the mobile phone, a system patented by the company Salto Systems, allowing the unlimited filling of the reusable bottles that each person carries.
The registration of new users requires the entry of a card number in which a monthly ($1.99) or annual ($19.99) fee is charged.
The application provides the following information:
- A map showing the affiliated retailers to the network. By clicking on each location symbol, you can access a tab of the establishment where, in addition to the address, information about opening times, where the dispenser is located and the number of bottles saved is included. This screen also adds two buttons that allow you to turn on the tap of that establishment (you must have the Bluetooth of your mobile device activated) and evaluate the service provided (for example, if the water is warm or the the tap is damaged).
- An access to the Bluetooth activation of your mobile device.
- A history with your recent activity and the number of bottles you have avoided sending to landfill.
Reefill’s Instagram account (here you can see how the dispenser is)
Images: screenshots 16/01/2017. ©Reefill
Plastic bottles are one of the main waste generated by the current society. In the best of cases and according to their components, they can be recycled (in U.S. and according to the 5 Gyres Institute, «less than 30% of plastic water bottles are recycled»), although in many places their final destination are landfills, being also habitual that they end up floating in the middle of the ocean, dragged to a beach or thrown to any corner. Taking into account that a container of these characteristics takes, according to the web down2earthmaterials, between 70 and 450 years (down2earthmaterials, 2013) and that only in the U.S. 35 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away every year (EcoWatch, 2014), you can get an idea of how serious the problem is.
Reefill tries to reduce the consumption of disposable bottles through an ingenious network of good quality water dispensers (sometimes, you don’t know the location of public fountains and the water that flows from many of them is warm or it has an unpleasant flavor) in which you can use your reusable bottle in exchange for a small payment that guarantees the service. Although it is an initiative with few months of life, it has been recognized with the first prize at the New York StartUp Business Plan Competition organized annually by the New York Public Library and Citi Foundation. As aspects to improve, in addition to the necessary expansion of affiliated establishments, it would be interesting to incorporate more payment systems such as Paypal.