Award winning connections

JoinThePipe was set up by Geraldo Vallen to get fresh, clean drinking water to all corners of the world, and tackling plastic soup at its source. “With reusable water bottles, and refill stations, we try to realise this dream every day”. REFILL. REUSE. REDUCE. 

In June 2020, they were awarded together with their client SPAR Netherlands the gold prize in the Vertex 2020 Awards for the design and manufacture of an affordable, reusable bio based plastic water bottle.

As Geraldo Vallen, a director of Join the Pipe explained, we are “very keen on our co-operation with SPAR because they have partners all over the world, not only in the EU, but also in developing countries in Africa and Asia where we and SPAR can have a big impact in reducing plastic waste. Countries where tap water is not the same as drinking water and expensive spring water is the only safe alternative. Places where no or very poor waste management is installed and plastic in the environment becomes a huge problem. Filtered tap water in the supermarket is a win-win-win situation for the people, the environment and SPAR. Because refills are cheaper for the client, less plastic is in the environment, and there is a better margin for the supermarket”.

Jan-Hein van Spaandonk from SPAR Netherlands said about the initiative; “SPAR is expanding its convenience stores in high traffic locations. In these downtown city, petrol or tourist locations, we sell a lot of bottled water. Working together with Join the Pipe created an opportunity to offer water in a reusable bottle while at the same time addressing mutual sustainable goals. Together with design agency Yellow Dress Retail, we created a ‘splashing’ design with an embossed print, resulting in a Gold Vertex Award.”

As a global brand, SPAR is committed to helping our customers and our communities around the world tackle the challenges in reducing plastic. SPAR operators are continually adopting innovative and environmentally friendly packaging which contributes to the reduction of waste. SPAR Netherlands jointly winning this Vertex 2020 Award recognises the great strides they are making in the integration of sustainable options for customers.

In 2019, the Plastic Pact came into effect in the Netherlands. The aim was that the Netherlands be the frontrunners to do more, with less plastic in the circular economy. Veolia Nederland, another INBA member, was a signatory to this pact.

Hildagarde McCarville, CEO of Veolia Nederland explains that the goal is not to ban outright the use of plastic, but to change behaviours and close the loop, so that plastic is recovered and converted into new products and packaging.   This also means that products should be designed so as to be reusable and recyclable. Veolia currently converts 45,000 Tons of household plastics into new secondary raw materials in the Netherlands alone.

Veolia also produces the bioplastic based reusable bottles for JoinThePipe.  Per McCarville this :”is a perfect example for us of how to optimise resources – being that the by-product of sugar production is later upcycled and transformed into reusable and recyclable bioplastic water bottles. Furthermore, it encourages the use of drinking local municipal tap water, and  also promotes health”.

Tobias Wasmuht, CEO SPAR International said, “we congratulate SPAR Netherlands on this award which not only highlights their ongoing sustainable initiatives but also the integration of great design when developing this sustainable bottle.”

Indeed, it was through an INBA event, that JoinThePipe first got connected with INBA, and thereafter with SPAR. The INBA has been connecting Irish and Dutch businesspeople in the Netherlands through a series of events over the past twenty-five years. INBA provides a useful forum for making connections between companies and individuals who are involved in business and commercial activities in both Ireland and the Netherlands. We are very proud to see these connections culminate in such an award winning and a positive result.

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