Jesse Leeworthy and Jonathan Byrt get pretty angry when it comes to throw away plastic water bottles. “These days, bottles of water are purchased from the local store, consumed and then thrown away after a single use, destined to litter our beaches or end up in landfill. Single-use water bottles are transported halfway around the world, only to be used once and thrown out! None of this makes sense when there is clean water flowing from our taps” says Byrt.

They definitely have a point. It’s an issue that these two primary school friends (now in their late 20’s) have decided to take globally, joining the fight against a throw-away society.

In an effort to expose and combat this issue, Leeworthy and Byrt created the memobottle; a new type of reusable water bottle that they believe can change people’s minds about how they consume and transport bottled water. It seems to be working. The crowdfunded idea has transformed into an international brand within 18 months and they have now landed memobottle™ in the 88th Oscars® Academy Awards Gift Bags. This they hope will inspire some of this year’s best Directors, Actresses and Actors to take notice and join the one bottle movement.

Leeworthy and Byrt, lifelong friends from Red Hill on Victoria’s picturesque Mornington Peninsula were seeing first-hand the devastating impact that single use drink bottles were having on their coastline, not to mention the rest of the planet. They could no longer sit around watching and waiting for this issue to resolve itself. Jesse who had completed his honours year in Product Design Engineering at Swinburne University, focused heavily on Single-Use bottles and their effect on the environment.

 

Photo: Jonathan Byrt and Jesse Leeworthy (memobottle™ Co-Founders)

 

Two years later with a design scribbled on a scrap piece of paper Jesse presented the idea of memobottle to Jonathan over Skype. Jonathan had been working in Boston, USA in a world leading Professional Services firm but was itching to make a positive change to society. Jonathan saw the idea and instantly warmed to it, but the two of them decided to sleep on it to be sure. Leeworthy still remembers the next morning when his phone started ringing at 5am. Jonathan was on the other end of the line and he was ecstatic. He had slept on the idea and was ready to talk details. The two immediately decided they had to go ahead with it. They knew the idea and the innovative design had the potential to change the way people viewed bottled water consumption.

The idea for a premium, re-usable, flat water bottle resembling the shape of a piece of paper was born. The creators fittingly named it the “memobottle”. The memobottle™ is designed around the international paper sizes (A5 and A6) to neatly slide into carry bags alongside computers, books and valuables. The A6 memobottle is the smallest of the collection and is designed to fit in your pocket, handbag or held while jogging.

 

 

Leeworthy and Byrt knew that human convenience is often the catalyst for devastating climate damage so to make a positive change and impact on the environment they needed to create something that offered improved human convenience coupled with a clear environmental advantage. “We realised a long time ago that people really are resistant to change. Unfortunately, when presented with two options a lot of people still go with the more convenient or cheaper option, regardless of the environmental or social implications.” says Byrt.

“To really break people’s habits around single-use drink bottles we had to offer something that was truly convenient, beautiful and sustainable in design. The memobottle™ had to make people think, and encourage people to ask questions” says Leeworthy. “We were finding not only a frustration with single-use drink bottles from an environmental stance but we found it intriguing as to why all bottles were round. Bottles hadn’t changed shape in decades yet tablets, laptops and computer bags were all flat in their design. Round bottles just didn’t fit with our modern lives. So, we decided to flip the equation”.