rain tubes to 'hydration vessels'

Since Steve Spratt patented a rooftop system for collecting rainwater, he's been deluged with international awards and recognition.

Convincing people to drink purified rainwater is the next goal, Spratt says, and flooding the community with "hydration vessels" is one way he's spreading the message. KOR Hydration Vessels can be purchased from Spratt's Jacksonville-based company RainTube, emblazoned with its logo for $29.95.

"It kind of fits with our theme of water," Spratt says.

KOR's 750-milliliter container — big enough to hold a bottle of wine — purposely wasn't dubbed a "water bottle," which has a disposable connotation, Spratt says. Spratt spied KOR at a "green" products show in San Francisco last year, considered it a clever cross-promotion and managed to sell hundreds through his Web site, www.raintube.com.

But the product also fits RainTube's eco-conscious business philosophy by encouraging the use of durable materials, in this case a trademarked copolyester called Tritan. The substance is free of bisphenol-A, used in the manufacture of many plastics and thought to have negative health consequences like cancer and birth defects.

While most plastic water bottles can be recycled, only a fraction actually are, Spratt says, adding that his company reclaims high-density polyethylene, commonly composing milk jugs, to make RainTubes.

"The idea behind reusable is you don't end up with the landfill issues," Spratt says.

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