ANA-LISSA JACK (NYLO Intern)
A popular sight after many marathons, fetes and sports days is a ground littered with plastic bottles. Upon seeing this, Lyndon Jones owner and founder of the Hydra-Station and the Hydra-Tap created a product that would reduce and eliminate this sight. He stated that the litter after these events gave sponsoring companies a bad image. “This new marketing technique will draw consumers closer to the brand while being environmentally conscious as there aren’t systems in place that encourage people to be mindful of the environment.”
Hydra-Station which was launched one year ago reduces the amount of single-use plastic bottles used at events. In addition to the reduction of plastic waste consumed, it reduces the litter after events and therefore the bad publicity. Hydra-Station prevents patrons from dumping plastic bottles and lessens the amount of plastic waste which goes into the landfill monthly. The Hydra-Tap is a portable version which he intends to have placed at public locations across the country.
He explained that the intention is companies provide free bottles to patrons at the entrance of events which will then be filled at the Hydra-Station. The Hydra-Station can dispense chilled, filtered water in 10 seconds. The bottles can be filled multiple times at no cost to patrons. They can then carry home the branded bottles they received for further use. “This is going to eliminate all the plastic bottles we see lying around after events. People also can see the company’s brand every time they open their cupboards and be reminded of their contribution to society.” He stated that companies and brands can be associated with something positive and his company has already attempted to have totally waste free events.
“It is more than a banner, flag or monetary contribution at events, companies and consumers can now see their tangible contribution and how it positively impacts the environment,” Jones said. The water is also metered so patrons can see their tangible contribution to society. The water passes through a system which calculates the amount of water dispensed. It is then displayed on an LCD screen so patrons and sponsors can see the amount of 250ml plastic bottles that was prevented from entering the landfill. Jones stated that one of Hydra-Station’s first events they prevented about 4000 bottles plastic bottles from entering the landfill.
The station and station-handlers are branded in the sponsoring company’s logo, giving the sponsor more visibility. Each station is a six by three unit with the ability to hydrate a gathering of about 1500. It is also portable so it can be used for moving events. Jones noted, “We have gotten some calls from a few carnival bands that are interested in using the station.” He said that it would be interesting to see a band travel their entire route without dumping plastic bottles along the way. The water the station uses is provided by the municipal water supply, which is then passed through several filtration systems and chilled before being dispensed.
He stated that the Hydra-Station is not just for environmentalist companies but can be used by all companies to ensure that persons are well hydrated at events while reducing the amount of plastic bottles used. With some modifications, the Hydra-Station may be able to dispense other drinks. “We have been asked if the station can dispense alcohol, however we want to ensure we maintain our vision. We are about marketing, and we do not want to confuse our patrons by saying we are preventing plastic waste on one end, but encouraging something else,” he stated. Jones stated that the company is willing to be involved in something that can prevent the proliferation of plastic bottles, drunk driving and anything that is going to lead in a positive direction.
The Hydra-Tap, a spin-off to the Hydra-Station was launched two months ago. Jones stated that this unit is built to be a permanent fixture to any park, playground or outdoor space. It is a single dispensing station to be deployed and locked into its location where people can hydrate themselves wherever they are for free. Jones said, “Persons can use the Hydra-Tap to get cool and filtered water in their own bottles across the country at no cost.” He further stated that there are buttons on the top and side for children and persons in wheelchairs.
He stated that is yet another advertising opportunity for companies and there is advertising space at the front and back of the Hydra-Tap. “The station draws persons to the station and therefore the brand,” he added. These taps are also metered so the company and sponsor can see how well the taps are doing in different locations. These taps which will be permanently placed at public locations are vandal and graffiti proof. They are also anti-bacterial and can withstand various weather situations. The nozzles are lodged inside the tap, therefore it cannot be touched by anyone, and there is a solar panel which allows the Hydra-Tap to charge and be lit at nights. He explained that the cost of maintenance of the filtration systems will be placed on the sponsors who place advertisements of the Hydra-Tap.
The Hydra-Tap is an initiative which will encourage citizens to reuse their bottles and will take about 15 seconds to fill a bottle based on municipal water supply. He further stated that the tap will be a great addition to schools, especially at this time where the Ministry of Education has called for no soft drink and healthier options to be sold in schools. “The cost of maintenance will not fall on schools and the water will be free to the schoolchildren. It is also great for an advertiser who wants to get his brand into the minds of the youth.”
Hydra-Station has done several events for B-mobile, Royal Bank, the National Association of Athletics Administrations and beach clean ups.