luigi rausch proposes alternative to disposable plastic water bottles
(above) the water bottle is made of translucent paper and beeswax 
all images courtesy of luigi rausch




disposable plastic water bottles are not going to disappear overnight. requiring people to go cold turkey on anything is not an effective or easy task; using some coaxing is quite necessary. luigi rausch, an industrial designer with a focus on psychology, aims to create solutions for this problem through the investigation of compostable materials and applying them into the design.


the designer says that the clear alternative to disposable plastic water bottles is clean tap water in a reusable container; however these disposable objects have become a standard when it comes to convenience. water will continually be purchased in this way, unless a new and more convenient habit is designed. the proposed ‘paper water co’ project is about three very important things: materiality, habits, and lifecycle. with today’s trends, something that can be effortlessly disposed, recycled, composted, etc. is a must.

luigi rausch paper water co designboom
in context use




the ‘paper water bottle’ is made entirely from two materials: beeswax and translucent paper. beeswax is an interesting alternative to plastics because it is the oldest known waterproofing method, originally used to seal drinking horns and canteens. it is an edible hypoallergenic and antibacterial material that locks in moisture. just like honey, it is able to stand the test of time with an indefinite shelf life. the translucent paper, on the other hand, has the perks of being naturally semitransparent, with 100% wood fibers, and an FDA food compliant. however it was chosen because the designer’s research discovered how important making the water visible is to consumers.

luigi rausch paper water co designboom
user pressed into a return postage postcard




the exterior of the container is left uncoated allowing it to be composted and naturally breakdown over six weeks, leaving the beeswax behind. this material is food for insects such as moths, and it even could be re-sterilized and used again. knowing that these containers will end up in landfills and that because of lack of oxygen, moisture, and sunlight, the six weeks could turn into years, luigi rausch had to find a new solution. the system was then redesigned around the idea of upcycling. rather than being recyclable, the idea is to upcycle these disposable containers into one new reusable water bottle.

luigi rausch paper water co designboom
composts in six weeks




each container is pre-labeled with return postage back to the company. after drinking, customers have the option of sending them back when they are finished. the containers would be brought back from the dead and made into a re-useable water bottle by compacting many of the disposable bottles with heat and pressure. thus being made out of the same materials, this is actual recycling the consumer can see and feel right in front of them.

‘paper water co’ is a proof of concept and would need a few more years to be consumer ready, but nevertheless is a statement showing the possibilities of simple natural materials.

luigi rausch paper water co designboom
two weeks after composting 

luigi rausch paper water co designboom
corrugation similar to that of cardboard for increased strength

luigi rausch paper water co designboom
the container is made from transparent paper so the user can visually see the water they are drinking

luigi rausch paper water co designboom
early prototype testing its ability to contain water

luigi rausch paper water co designboom
early prototypes testing the duration of each and its ability to contain water



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: juliana neira | designboom