DELAWARE, Ohio, Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A water backpack designed by global industrial packaging leader Greif, Inc., (NYSE: GEF, GEF.B), has been honored with a 2012 Best of What's New Award from Popular Science magazine. The PackH 2O™ backpack was created specifically for the human transport of water in water-stressed regions and disaster zones.
"For 25 years, Popular Science has honored the innovations that surprise and amaze us − those that make a positive impact on our world today and challenge our view of what's possible in the future," said Jacob Ward, editor-in-chief of Popular Science. "The Best of What's New Award is the magazine's top honor, and each of the 100 winners − chosen from among thousands of entrants − is a revolution in its field."
Up to 2.4 billion people live in water-stressed areas. UNICEF estimates that women and children in developing nations spend 200 million hours daily collecting water, often from distant sources, and then carrying it home in discarded jerry cans and buckets that were often originally used to contain lubricants, agrichemicals or fuel oils. Furthermore, in almost all cases studied, the discarded containers harbored harmful bacteria. Numerous organizations around the world have generously invested in the much-needed activities of drilling wells, purifying water and filtering it. Yet no one has addressed easing the burden of carrying heavy water, or the "Achilles' heel" of putting clean water in dirty containers. This water backpack was designed to do that ... and more.
Simple Idea, Purposeful DesignThe 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. On a trip to Haiti to help install a rain catchment system in a rural village, Greif President & CEO David Fischer observed women carrying water in containers on their heads, and children lugging home dirty jerry cans and buckets full of water. (The water in a typical 20 liter container alone weighs 44 pounds.) Having carried such heavy containers himself, seeing the ingrained filth inside the plastic containers and recognizing that the containers being used were likely chemically contaminated, Fischer knew there was a better way and challenged the company to find it. The result is the PackH 2O backpack that alleviates the physical and safety challenges of getting water home.The company tested the water backpack with prospective users in different and diverse communities, watching how they were used and listening to comments. They would then take the feedback to the design team, which would incorporate the suggestions through several finely tuned iterations.