Evian unveils refillable device in bid to slash plastic waste

French bottled water company Evian is set to begin trials of a new refillable in-home water appliance next month, in a bid to gauge consumer appetite for lower-plastic alternatives to single-use bottles.

Evian unveils refillable device in bid to slash plastic waste

The packaging for each five-litre refill contains 66% less plastic than a 1.5-litre Evian bottle

Called the Evian re-new, the device consists of a rigid plastic base and a collapsible five-litre “bubble” container, which houses the product refill. The container is made of 100% recycled plastic and contains 66% less plastic by weight than a 1.5-litre Evian bottle.

The “bubble”, developed by Louis Vuitton’s artistic director for menswear Virgil Abloh, is designed to contract as the water is removed, collapsing once empty. It can then be recycled in kerbside collections.

Consumers will be able to order refill bubbles by using Evian’s designated re-new app, which connects to the appliance and warns users when their water supply is running low. The refills will then be delivered to their homes by Evian.

A small-scale pilot project will see the re-new devices installed across the homes of 200 London and Paris-based Evian consumers in May. The results of the trial will be used to help Evian adapt and update the device and the service model ahead of a wider launch later this year.

Evian’s vice president for global brand Patricia Olivia said the innovative device could have the potential to “reinvent” the way that consumers purchase bottled water.

“At Evian, we owe everything to nature and are committed to a healthy planet – and this will only be achieved by new ways of thinking and of doing business,” Olivia said.

“This is why we’re challenging ourselves to reinvent new ways to provide Evian natural mineral water to consumers. This unique bubble design represents a breakthrough in design thinking which brings the purity of Evian natural mineral water from the source to the home in a more circular way.”

Low-plastic, low-carbon

The re-new is one of a string of innovations which Evian has unveiled in recent times, as it strives to become a circular business by 2025 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2020. The 2025 ambition notably includes pledges to use 100% recycled content in its plastic packaging and to work with the waste management sector to ensure 100% recyclability.

Since unveiling these aims, Evian has upped the recycled content in its bottles to 25% and begun inking a series of additional deals to increase this proportion further. But away from fossil fuel plastics, Evian subsidy Danone has also teamed with the bottled water division of the Nestlé Group and a Californian start-up company to launch a new alliance aimed at commercialising 100% bio-based plastic bottles.

More recently, Evian launched its first range of refillable water bottles. Developed by Abloh for New York Fashion Week, the bottles consist of a recyclable glass body, aluminium cap and a silicone sleeve. The bottles are notably being marketed as a limited-edition, luxury lifestyle product.

Given that only 9% of all plastic ever made has been recycled, Evian is one of several big-name businesses to have launched refill and reuse models in recent months.

In January, 24 consumer goods and food and drinks firms revealed that they would support TerraCycle’s new “Loop” platform, for example, whereby businesses will provide product refills while retaining ownership of their reusable packaging. Early supporters of the platform’s initial launch in New York and Paris include Unilever, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and PepsiCo, with Tesco set to spearhead a UK launch this autumn. 

Sarah George

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie