Ditch plastic bottles with this smartphone-activated water fountain

reefill smartphone water fountain screen shot 2017 04 29 at 7 11 40 pm
Bottled water may soon be a waste of the past — that is, if Reefill has its way. The New York City-based technology startup is taking advantage of your smartphone to help you save the planet with a system of phone-activated water refill stations. So as long as you have a reusable water bottle with you, you’ll be able to access unlimited cold, filtered tap water just about anywhere.

As it stands, Reefill can claim eight pilot stations in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. But a new Indiegogo campaign hopes to expand that presence to 100 locations across the city. The goal is simple: to help rid the United States’ most populous city of plastic water bottles.

Last year, the Reefill team notes, U.S. bottled water sales topped $21 billion, bringing in more revenue than the soda industry. And while it may be good for our waistlines that we’re choosing bottled water over sugary carbonated drinks, it’s not doing much for Mother Earth. The problem, of course, is that those of us who do opt to carry around our own reusable water containers often find ourselves at a loss when it comes to refills.

There aren’t all that many public water fountains — at least, those that dispense water that you’d actually want to drink. Reefill seeks to solve this problem by providing the public with a convenient water solution without waste and for a low cost.

To use Reefill, members are asked to pay $1.99 per month, which grants them unlimited access to all Reefill stations. Then, simply download the Reefill app (available on both Android and iPhone), and search the in-app map for the nearest station. Once users have arrived at the nearest fountain, they can activate the station using Bluetooth via the app, and fill up their bottles. The app also keeps tabs on how many bottles Reefill user have saved from the landfill, as well as how much money members are saving by opting out of buying bottled water.

“Reefill’s pilot program has been a huge success and we have gotten great feedback from our users who let us know that they are eager to see a citywide network,” said Reefill Co-founder and CEO Jason Pessel. “We are ready to make that a reality and help as many people as possible ditch bottled water.”

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