Online Exclusives

Bottling a Bright Idea

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | July 21, 2014

Clean Ethics’ natural cleaning solution for water bottles reaches tough to clean spots —and those in need.

You can’t leave home without your favorite travel mug of coffee. And what about those sports water bottles your kids take to summer camp each day. You love the convenience and eco-nature of these containers, but cleaning them is another story.
Americans buy loads of reusable bottles, travel mugs, thermoses and drink dispensers every year—in every shape and size—despite how difficult it is for sponges and brushes to clean them completely. The result: users find themselves drinking from a container that doesn’t seem as clean as it once was; there’s often residue inside and worse, unwanted taste when it is used next.
Clean Ethics, Burlington, VT, has a solution—well, a tablet really—that takes care of those hard to reach nooks and crannies of reusable drink containers.
Bottle Bright is proprietary, all-natural formula that rinses away and leaves no residual taste or odor behind as it works to remove stains and hidden grime.
Users simply fill their drinkware with water, drop in the tablet, let it work its magic, and then dump out the fluid.
As an avid mountain biker, co-founder Justin Koehnekedreamed up the idea for Bottle Bright when he grew tired of the foul tastes and grime that never quite disappeared from hydration packs and bottles.
“It was about a year of research and development to create the finished product,” said Koehneke.
Once they had the formulation down, he and his co-founder (Seth Friedman)secured a private label arrangement and started manufacturing the product under a well-known backpack brand.  
“One of our main criteria in developing this formula was that it be completely natural and safe,” Koehneke said, noting that the patent-pending formulation certified by the Natural Products Association.
“We created our own brand, Bottle Bright, a couple years later to get our unique product into more consumer's hands and to accomplish our social mission,” he said.
That mission is to get clean containers where they are needed most, in developing countries where the need for clean water is essential. There are various organizations working hard to help to establish new water sources and purification systems, however the water is often stored and carried in contaminated containers, according to Clean Ethics. 

“We realized early on that the people who could benefit from our unique product the most were those in developing countries who haul and store drinking water every day. So we decided to create a program that donates an equal amount of tablets for every package of Bottle Bright sold.”
The duo has traveled to Haiti to personally distribute Bottle Bright and the product has also been shipped to Central America and the Philippines.
To date they have donated more than 100,000 tablets.
And new retail expansion should help Clean Ethics further its mission.
According to Koehneke, Bottle Bright is expanding its retail placement from online and catalogs to brick and mortar, having just shipped product to 50 Bed Bath & Beyond stores.
“We're beginning to make our push into retail,” Koehneke told Happi.

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