You’re at party on the beach. All your friends are here, and plastic bottles crowd the table. You crack open a drink and take a sip, but set it down when your friend calls you over for a game of volleyball. Later, you return to the table to find that your original drink has been lost in a sea of duplicates.
Shrugging, you grab another from the cooler. By the time the party’s finished, you and your friends have dozens of half-empty bottles to clear away.
Bottle waste is a national epidemic. Forbes estimates that more than a million plastic bottles are consumed each minute. A portion of that, at least, can be attributed to the situation above — half-finished drinks, thrown out because no one can remember who they belong to. Now a San Diego startup takes aim at a solution.
Sipsee, a product of Garcia Hanson Innovations Inc., offers buyers a way to both preserve and distinguish their bottled drinks. Sipsee is a reusable bottle stopper, designed to fit a wide variety of bottles. What makes Sipsee different from other stoppers is its customizable design (each order comes with stickers you can use to personalize your cap) and the carrying case that’s included — a screw-on keychain attachment that allows you to take Sipsee with you wherever you go.
The company’s founders, Dan and Kirsten Hanson Garcia, of Point Loma, are committed to their goals of sustainability and waste reduction. Kirsten is a former Oracle employee, while Dan is a Navy veteran who hit upon the idea during a disaster relief project when he noticed the number of water bottles going to waste.
Dan and Kirsten are motivated by a desire to “eliminate unnecessary waste and bring awareness to the prevalent ‘throw away culture.’” They believe that a business should have a positive impact on the society that supports it — as a result, they donate a portion of the profits to charity.
The company’s efforts have been recognized by the larger sustainability community. The California Resource Recovery Association, a group dedicated to achieving environmental stability, recently awarded Sipsee the Outstanding Waste Prevention award for evaluating its waste stream and making a concerted effort to reduce it.
Not only are all Sipsee stoppers made from recyclable materials, but the plastic used by each stopper is less than that of the average water bottle — if a single Sipsee stopper is used to save a single bottle, it’s a net gain for the environment.
Dan and Kirsten are thrilled so far by the reaction to their product. Earlier this year, they presented at Earth Day in Balboa Park to an enthusiastic crowd. Their plan is to bring their message to a larger audience. “Most people don’t bring bottle stoppers with them naturally,” Dan explained. “We’re hoping to create a shift in mindset.”
Learn more about Sipsee at www.mysipsee.com.