Ecowell: An Eco-Friendly Alternative to Vending Machines

Thanks to students, Brian Boler, Andy Whitaker and Reid Schilperoort, we can now officially say goodbye to vending machines full of plastic bottles. This team of entrepreneurs has managed to make reusable water bottles even more convenient with their recent class-project-turned-business-venture:

Ecowell. A vending kiosk that dispenses hot, cold or carbonated water with a choice of over 20 fruit juice flavors, two sweeteners and five vitamin supplements. This eco-friendly alternative to vending machines allows you to create your own beverage, dispensing it straight into your own reusable Klean Kanteen. None of the fruit juice flavors contain high fructose corn syrup, and the kiosk can dispense any combination of flavors, light or full, depending on your preference. Both of these features allow you to create a healthier beverage than those which are normally available in standard vending machines. Moreover, with Ecowell’s convenient Tap-Tag system, patrons can create an account right at the kiosk and use their Tap-Tag to select and pay for their drinks at each visit. Ecowell is a great invention for office buildings and schools where bottled water and soda are consumed on a regular basis.

Beverages ordered and filled at the Ecowell kiosk are less expensive than the average bottle of water, juice or soda purchased from a conventional vending machine. A 16-oz. cold glass of purified water is $0.55. Add three fruit flavors and pay only $1.50. Considering that a Vitamin Water is usually at least $1.75, and a Snapple beverage can cost around $2.50, students and workers are getting a great deal for a customized, healthy, eco-friendly beverage. For example, instead of buying a Focus Kiwi-Strawberry Vitamin Water, you can simply create your own mix of fruit-flavored water and add the “StudyBoost” vitamin supplement for added focus and retention.

Ecowell truly leaves the consumer with no excuses to drink bottled water. At home, you can make your own flavored water with the PUR flavor options pitcher or PUR faucet mount with flavor options. With the Ecowell kiosk, now you can make your own flavored water and even soda. This new invention might just make more schools consider banning bottled water.

5 thoughts on “Ecowell: An Eco-Friendly Alternative to Vending Machines

  1. Hi Rick – thanks for contributing to the discussion. I hear what you’re saying about the level of filtration regarding the two different solutions to bottled water, and no, the Filtrete Water Station does not have a 7-tier process like Pura Vida’s machines, but anyone can get something pretty close, if not just as good, with a reverse osmosis filter at home, and fill their reusable bottles before they leave the house, as easily as they could fill it at one of these machines. While I do think this is a much better solution if someone has no access to filtered water on-the-go, than plastic bottled water, I’m still not convinced that it’s worth paying 50 cents for a 16-oz glass of water, or 75 cents for a 24-oz glass. If you’re that thirsty and there’s nothing else, then okay, but I’d encourage people to filter their own water at home FIRST and use a water vending machine as an alternate solution if it becomes absolutely necessary. I’m not knocking the concept – it is a great idea – we thought so when we did the EcoWell post as well – especially for college students. But I’d be interested to see just how much of a profit these vending machine manufacturers are making by selling filtered water at 50 cents a pop… There are people in developing countries who can’t even get access to clean tap water, and yet we feel the need to put our already cleansed water through a seven-step filtration process to make it taste better, and then profit from it. If everyone went for the at-home solution (granted, it’s not a 7-step filtration process) and donated the 50 cents they would have spent at a vending machine to the cause of clean water, collectively, we could really make a difference where it counts. Just my opinion, though.

  2. The filtration processes used by Pura Vida’s machines and the “at home” 4 bottle filler are not the same, so comparing them from a cost perspective is an inaccurate comparison. Pura Vida’s machines are also out in public or retail areas making them convenient “refilling” stations. Logic dictates your “at home” solution necessitates lugging around multiple water bottles which has been one of the limiting factors to more people using reusable water bottles.

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