Muji stores will have a faucet where you can fill up your 190 yen plastic bottle with water.
You. Yes, you! Go get a drink of water. Yes, even if you have a drink already.
Where did you go to get your water from? Your kitchen faucet? Maybe a local convenience store? We’re pretty sure you didn’t go running to the nearest Muji store — the chain infamous for how its brand is its lack of branding — to get your hydration fix. But Muji wants to change that, which is why they’ve come up with their latest perplexing product: a water bottle that you can “fill up yourself”.
The bottle has the kanji for water on it, so you know what to put inside.
The aspirations behind this simple “Fill-Up-Yourself” Water Bottle are noble — Muji wants to help cut down on plastic waste, such as the kind generated by single-use PET bottles. This bottle can be used many times, has a nice wide neck for easier drinking, and best of all you can fill it up right in the Muji store. Muji will be installing drinkable tap water faucets in 113 of its stores from July 1, and plans to expand to 400 stores by the end of the 2020 financial year. Once a customer purchases a 190-yen bottle they can fill up the bottle at any store with a faucet, negating the need to purchase a single-use plastic bottle from a nearby vending machine.
Muji has also developed an app to go along with the bottle. Simply titled “Water”, it’ll give you a visual guide to how much plastic waste you’re avoiding by using your Muji plastic bottle. They’re also planning to work alongside with the city of Tokyo itself to implement more public drinking fountains.
And if you need a bigger helping of water they’re also selling stainless-steel tumblers in a variety of sizes.
▼ L-R: 200 milliliters, 990 yen; 350 milliliters, 1,290 yen; 500 milliliters, 1,490 yen.
This is, admittedly, a very nice idea. Single-use plastics are certainly a huge ecological problem and we should work hard to eliminate their use. However, internet users have noticed some issues with the plan:
“So, can I use my personal water bottle to fill up there, or…?”
“[The faucet] is gonna be a hotbed of germs.”
“Why not just use an empty PET bottle?”
“Does the water at the store’s faucet taste different or something?”
“At least say you’re gonna cool the water in the faucet!”
It does seem implied that the faucets are specifically for filling up the plastic bottle that Muji is selling, meaning if you bought a re-usable bottle from another company promoting a similarly eco-friendly message then you’re out of luck. Muji does at least say they’ll replace your broken or damaged water bottle if you bring it to the store, but that seems to be the only thing that sets them apart from, say, the re-usable tumbler you bought a few months ago at Starbucks.
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