Plastics and especially single-use packaging are at the bull's-eye center of an ongoing public-relations nightmare of unfavorable environmental news. An inventor offers a solution for what may be considered the biggest poster child of the bad press onslaught: single-use PET water bottles. And today, Earth Day 2019, is the perfect time to report on this unique bottle design intended to be reused when empty—not refilled—as something completely different and practical.
Steven Klein, President & CEO of Kleincepts, Inc., is the inventor of the reusable Eco Connect Bottle, a patented bottle design that permits empty plastic bottles to be directly reused and repurposed as practical items including tables, desks, toys, storage cubes, trash bins and building insulation.
Some eco-highlights of his bottle:
- The Eco Connect Bottle System turns trash into useful household items.
- The Eco Connect Bottle System can reduce plastic waste in our landfills and waterways.
- The Eco Connect Bottle System can benefit every household, and will be even more valuable in countries that do little or no recycling.
Provide us a summary of what it is and what’s happened since you announced the Eco Connect Bottle System in 2017.
Klein: The Eco Connect Bottle System is a simple packaging design technology that helps to address the critical global problem of how to reduce the more than one billion durable plastic containers a day that are not currently being recycled. After only a single use, they are destined to spend the next 400-500 years littering our streets, landfills and waterways.
The Eco Connect Bottle System’s patented container coupling technology connects any brand’s empty single-serve water bottles to each other, utilizing a proprietary connecting recess molded into the bottle’s base, and a to variety of functional, threaded connector pieces.
This simple design technology enables the connected empties to be constructed into an unlimited number of useful household items enabling them to have a repurposed new life as something else…like tables, storage cubes, toys and even building insulation.
I formally introduced the Eco Connect Bottle System in 2017 after 10 years in development. It began with a simple idea, developing prototypes, gauging interest, creating the media and tools to share my story and applying for patents. Then, I needed to find a technology that was capable of blowmolding my precise recess in high-speed machinery so I could realistically test the bottles for proof of concept. And finally, I had to develop and test connector pieces, find a manufacturer and develop pricing.
My goal, in everything I do, is always to help people and to make the world a better place. Although I’m still in the process of bringing the Eco Connect Bottle System to market, the global response of support for the Eco Connect Bottle System has exceeded all of my expectations. I have developed wonderful, new relationships in the United States, Africa, Mexico, China, Europe, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and in so many other places. Strangers have volunteered to write articles to help me spread the word.
I have been asked to join many groups and organizations that support sustainability. I was even asked to directly contract with a Middle Eastern Country because their recycling program was failing and they liked the idea of additional uses for the empties.
What specific type of bottle does this address?
Klein: At the present time, the System is designed to work with any shape single-serve PET water or still beverage bottle. Since the connecting recess is underneath the bottles, participating brands can continue to use their existing, familiar bottle designs.
Just a few weeks ago you received a Notice of Allowance that the proprietary base recess, which connects the bottles and develops a strong “vacuum seal” connection, was awarded its own separate utility patent. What are the implications of that?
Klein: The Notice of Allowance for the proprietary “vacuum seal” connecting recess is the second utility patent supporting the Eco Connect Bottle System. It is a strong patent that I believe will make it difficult, and almost impossible, for a competitor to reengineer or duplicate the Eco Connect Bottle System’s connecting features.
I have seen other ways to connect containers utilizing bottles with awkward shapes. The vacuum seal connector creates a strong vacuum seal grip, is hidden under the bottle base and enables participating brands to continue using their existing, familiar bottle design.
Next: Brand R&D connection, lessons and advice