Tap, the 'Google Maps for Drinking Water,' is Tackling Plastic Bottle Waste

October 31, 2018

By Chloe Aiello

When serial entrepreneur Samuel Ian Rosen topped his water bottle at an airport fill station and took a drink, it left a bad taste in his mouth. Rather than let the taste linger, Rosen founded water technology company Tap to ensure drinkers never fall prey to stale water ー or plastic bottles ー again.

Tap is a "software drink company" that maps out sources of clean, free water ー from street fountains to friendly bars, restaurants, and retailers. The next step for Rosen is tackling plastic bottle waste.

"It's kind of crazy to me that we leave our homes in the day and we purchase disposable, one-time, single-use plastic bottles because we are lazy. The truth is, it is so easy to carry this bottle with us," Rosen told Cheddar Wednesday.

This week, the software drink company launched its #DrinkDifferent movement to encourage water-drinkers to shift their thinking about disposable bottles. An enthusiast of Burning Man arts festival, which operates on the principle of "Leave No Trace," Rosen said the era of plastic bottles is coming to an end.

Rosen's application, which he calls "the Google ($GOOGL) Maps for water," is designed to help make bottled water unnecessary. He said it already boasts about 35,000 refill stations across more than 30 countries.

Rosen said the concept works because it costs bars and restaurants almost nothing to provide free water ー and more foot traffic may even expose businesses to new customers.

Restaurants, like Umami Burger and salad chain Sweetgreen "are opening their taps ー they have free water in stores for customers ー and they put a little sticker that says, 'refill your bottle here,' increasing the amount of foot traffic into their stores by giving away free water," he added.

As an added incentive to partners, Rosen hopes to provide back-end analytics data to participating retailers detailing how many people are entering their businesses as a result of participation with Tap.

As for the #DrinkDifferent campaign, Rosen said it's already been embraced by more than 500 social media influencers who've shared a pledge to avoid plastic bottles for 30 days. There are more than 28,000 posts on Facebook's ($FB) Instagram under the hashtag.

For full interview click here.