SAN FRANSISCO — At the press of a button, you can see the LED is now activated. In just 60 seconds, it will purify the water and clean the inner surfaces of the water bottle itself.
It’s called LARQ and it claims to be the world’s first self-cleaning water bottle.
The San Francisco-based startup created proprietary UV-C LED technology to kill nearly 100 percent of germs, and harmful bacteria and viruses.
“A big part of what we’re trying to solve is not that people can’t clean the water bottle, is that we find that a lot of people end up reaching for a plastic water bottle.”
CEO and co-founder Justin Wang says he came up with the idea after feeling guilty about grabbing that plastic water bottle one too many times. Wang first launched a wildly successful kickstarter campaign, raising almost $2 million for LARQ.
The bottle also activates every two hours in a self-cleaning mode.
“We always found this issue of, when you’re on the go and you’re searching for your water bottle it’s not clean, it’s a little smelly, you can’t purify water on the go, sometimes.”
LARQ says only a tiny fraction of plastic bottles are recycled, and turned into new ones. More than 1 million plastic bottles end up in landfills every minute.
“Water safety and water is not only a third-world country issue but it’s also something that affects the US, so having that option every time during a hurricane, or even in Flint, Michigan you have water quality issues.”
But even when the water quality is good, LARQ says many germs, and the stench are from the bottle itself.
UC Berkeley professor Ashok Gadgil specializes in safe drinking water.
“UV disinfection is a very effective and safe way to disinfect water.”
He says UV light illuminates the water and kills the DNA of the bacteria.
“It’s a pretty, pretty new technology and to have it reach commercial prices, the prices have come down for commercial use, that’s a very recent development.”
The LARQ bottle retails for $95. It is rechargeable, and each charge lasts a month.LARQ is currently sold at Bloomingdales nationwide and on its website. In the first three3 months since it went live, LARQ says it’s shipped 25,000 bottles.