Discovering innovations that matter since 2002

Collapsible backpack offers safer water transport in the developing world

Nonprofit & Social Cause

The WaterWear backpack has been launched as a safer and more ecologically responsible alternative to makeshift water-carrying vessels.

In developing nations, women and children walk an average of 3.5 miles per day to collect water, often carrying it home in discarded jerry cans and buckets that originally held fuel, oils, pesticides, paints and other chemicals. So notes Ohio packaging firm Greif, which manufactures these items that are originally intended for chemical storage but often get re-used as water carriers, resulting in contaminated water. Greif recently partnered with Impact Economics to launch the WaterWear backpack as a safer and more ecologically responsible alternative. While there’s already been considerable attention paid to the need for clean water in the developing world, transport containers are often overlooked, according to Greif, with the result that even clean water soon becomes contaminated with toxins. The WaterWear backpack, on the other hand, offers a clean, hands-free transport solution that’s collapsible, sanitary, and suitable for use on either the back or the head. Capable of holding 20 liters, it’s also seven times lighter and seven times smaller than an average plastic jerry can with similar capacity. Importantly, the new WaterWear backpack has a lower lifetime cost than traditional water vessels and can potentially be assembled by microbusinesses in developing nations, Greif says. The video below explains the premise in further detail: Greif’s launch goal is to donate 100,000 packs by 3 September; each backpack requires a contribution of USD 10. Socially minded brands around the globe: one to sponsor or otherwise get involved in?
Download PDF

Springwise Services:
Our expertise in spotting the latest innovations is the best resource to empower your team’s future planning.

Find out More