Work Menu Search

999bottles The Impact of Our Choices

The statistics regarding the waste it takes to make a single liter of plastic bottled water are staggering, not to mention the caustic environmental aftereffects to our soil and oceans.

Enter 999bottle: a water bottle concept designed to help people visualize the positive impact we can have on the environment by drinking from reusable water bottles instead of disposable ones.

The 999bottle is a concept for a re-usable water bottle with three numbered dials along its length. The dials (count 000-999) allow you to keep track of how many times you re-use the bottle. Every time you refill, advance the dial one notch. The numbers move slowly, but they will steadily add up.

"…these sobering facts have sparked the reusable bottle movement over the past few years, Ferd van Engelen and his colleagues at the Seattle-based Artefact Group have taken it a step further, creating the 999Bottles water bottle, a 24 ounce reusable water bottle that allows its users to see exactly how abandoning disposable plastic bottles can help sustainability."

Drew Guarini, Huffington Post, April 2011

"...Artefact shared with us a unique concept for a reusable water bottle. It was nice to look at, to be sure, but the truly innovative twist was it reinforced the virtuous choice to forgo the plastic variety: a built-in dial would allow users to keep track of how many plastic water bottles they were saving from a landfill, and an app would help them visualize their environmental impact."

Belinda Lanks, Fast Company, April 20, 2011


The bottle

Elegant in form and durable in transport, the simple, sleek, and modern 24 oz stainless steel bottle has a wide mouth with smooth edges that opens in two twists.

The dial

Three numbered dials along the length of the bottle keep track of how many times you re-use it. Each time you refill, advance the dial one notch.

Social aspect

The app helps you visualize the individual impact of your non-consumption, which you can share with your friends to gain an understanding of the collective impact. At 8 bottles, you will have amortized your initial purchase, 15 bottles is a stack about as tall as a giraffe. At 147, the bottles you non-consumed have saved you $326 and 7 gallons of oil. Stacked on top of each other that would amount to a 15 story building.



The idea of the 999Bottle came from a long standing habit of Fernd tracking with a Sharpie the number of times he refilled his bottle. He started sketching ideas for a bottle dial and exploring how he could visualize the impact of reusable bottles instead of plastic ones.


In our industrial design process we explored several iterations of the bottle with the dial. We considered materials such as glass for the bottle and chose stainless steel for its durability. We also chose a rubberized bottom to improve grip and set raised numbers for tactile feedback. Finally, we designed the core scenarios for the app and prototyped the visualizations in HTML5.


In the refinement phase, we explored several packaging options that captured the brand values of the bottle. We settled for an economical cardboard based and ink jet printed pack that easily stacked bulk orders.


We developed an appearance model to showcase the experience and feel of the bottle. The stainless steel and rubber for the dial were manufactured in Portland, Oregon. Our photo partner, Doug Evans, did the product photography in his Seattle studio.