Startup Aims to Eliminate Plastic Bottles with Better Looking Alternatives

eliminate plastic bottles s well bottles

For years, companies have been working on different alternatives to eliminate plastic bottles. But none of them have been able to really take over that market.

The standard metal bottles can hold a lot of water and be refilled over and over again. But they aren’t very attractive. And while looks aren’t exactly integral to the operation of a refillable water bottle, they are actually important to a lot of consumers.

Sarah Kauss was one of those consumers. She constantly carried around a metal water bottle for years while working as a CPA and a real estate executive. She spoke of the water bottle with CNN:

“It was ideal for the gym, or pulling out of your backpack when you’re camping, but not for an executive to be carrying around.”

So, in 2010, she set out to eliminate plastic bottles by creating her own line of reusable water bottles. And her startup S’well was born.

S’well bottles are insulated and designed to keep liquids cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. But more than that, they’re actually good looking, coming in various designs, sizes and colors.

Oprah Magazine even chose S’well bottles to feature in a list of popular summer products back in 2011, giving the company a major boost.

The look of a water bottle doesn’t affect its ability to hold water, keep it cold or anything else about its practical use. But what it can do is actually convince more people to use refillable water bottles.

Those who, like Kauss, don’t love the idea to carry around unsightly metal bottles now have an alternative. And that might actually convince more people to ditch the plastic bottles and do something good for the environment. Reducing waste from plastic bottles is, after all, S’well’s main mission. Kauss said:

“I want to get rid of plastic bottles.”

Image: S’well 6 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

6 Reactions
  1. What material did she use? It is hard to find a reusable material that will not corrode over time. But I guess it is a must.

    • I believe they’re stainless steel on the inside but then contain different materials on the outside for the aesthetic part.

  2. There will always be people who are willing to pay extra for the aesthetic. Most of the time we call it fashion. Just look at the Apple watch as an example.

    • So true! It’s not necessarily the most important factor, but there are definitely a lot of people who are willing to pay for stylish products, whether it’s a watch or a water bottle.

  3. who are S’well’s competitors? Hydroflask? Kleen Kanteen or MiiR? and why the surge in this market? BTW, what category do water bottles fall under? I was trying to research trends and I just can’t figure out where reusable water bottles fit? Is it consumer goods, packaging, green?

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