Global Green USA honored Greif, Inc. with the Industrial Design Award at its 13th Annual Global Green Sustainable Design Awards event held Dec. 3 in New York City. The award honors the PackH2O water backpack created specifically for the human transport of water in water-distressed regions and disaster zones.
A world leader in the manufacture of industrial packaging, Greif developed the water backpack constructed of industrial-grade polypropylene fabric. PackH2O was also recently named a Popular Science 2012 Best of What's New Award winner in the Green category.
"We are grateful for this recognition from Global Green USA, and privileged to take a place beside the other Award honorees. This recognition is another affirmation that we are addressing the Achilles' heel of water distribution - the transport by a person from source to home," said Scott Griffin, chief sustainability officer for Greif.
Griffin continued, "We purposefully designed sustainability into the water backpack and our business model. We minimized the carbon footprint of the water backpack every way we could, including the use of scrap material from our production of flexible industrial packaging, which would otherwise be reprocessed.
"We also took out cost as much as possible so we could set a low price that would cover costs and enable distribution to make the water backpack self-supporting. This way, we can continue to make water backpacks without straining our resources, ensuring production until the day they're not needed anymore."
The water backpack is also available in kits that are optimally priced to be sewn, distributed and sold by women creating small business networks in developing markets with minimal capital and training.
The intention is for the water backpacks to ultimately create needed local jobs in economically disadvantaged communities.
Simple Idea, Intelligent Design
The water backpack is part of the company's work with the Clinton Global Initiative and its commitment to CGI to improve water transport in some of the world's poorest regions.
The water backpack features:
- Ergonomic design to take weight off the head and neck and distribute it on the back, leaving hands free
- Light weight – seven times lighter than the typical jerry can used to carry water
20 liter capacity for adults; 5 liter capacity for the children's size
- Construction of flexible industrial grade material for durability and folding for shipment and storage
- Roll-top closure to protect the water during transport and diminish loss to spilling, sloshing and evaporation
- Adjustable soft, broad straps for comfort