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New-Age Matka: This Man’s Innovation Is a Great Alternative to Plastic Bottles

Made of clay, these bottles are handmade and cool water through the natural process of evaporative cooling.

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One of the greatest milestones in the history of human civilisation was the invention of pottery.

Pieces and shards excavated from different parts of the world, some as old as 30,000 years, highlight how pottery has long been an indispensable part of civilization.

However, once we began fashioning metal into durable, desired shapes, clay utensils slowly started taking a backseat.

With the advent of plastics, clay could never catch up.

Few pottery excavations in China. Source: Wikimedia.

One can still sight matkas or earthenware pots in rural India, where these are used to store water. Clay pots keep water temperature low despite scorching summer heat. That’s one of the primary reasons why the practice is still at large in the villages.

Everyone cannot afford a refrigerator.

The practice is almost obsolete in metropolitan cities, save a few lone street vendors who find even lesser buyers with each passing day.

A street vendor with matkas. Source: Wikimedia.

With every nook and corner having a store that can quench your thirst in a jiffy, packaged drinking water in plastic bottles has wriggled its way into our lives now more than ever.

However in recent years, various researches have corroborated that a certain amount of hazardous water contamination occurs with the repeated use of plastic bottles. Also, these bottles, post use, have only added to the waste polluting the environment on a daily basis.


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To tackle this concern, one man in Tumkur has come up with an innovative concept – earthenware water bottles that are not just lightweight but also keep water cool.

Apah clay bottle is the brainchild of Pramod Siddagangaiah of Livegreen India, an enterprise that was formed to create livelihoods in semi-urban and rural places and to stop people from migrating to cities for work.

These bottles are handmade and cool water through the natural process of evaporative cooling.

Combining the art of pottery to fit the urban. Courtesy: Livegreen India.

“The idea came to me in 2015 during a summer day. While it is easy for one to access cold, bottled water from stores, how would one quench their thirst at places where accessibility is limited? That’s when the entire matka concept struck. But the glitches came in form of weight and portability,” Pramod told the The Better India.

The engineer then researched various methods about how an earthenware container could be made that was not just portable but light in weight too. “Also, there was the underlying need of keeping the bottle water tight too. While my working principles is stringent over sustainability, I developed a rubber lid which can ensure that under no circumstances would a drop of water leak,” he explains.

With a small production unit set in Tumkur itself, Pramod employs the local community for the manufacturing the bottles.

At the production unit. Courtesy: Livegreen India.

While the original method of pottery involves the wheel, here they use different moulds to offer uniformity in the products.

The bottle has been designed by Clay Station, a pottery centre and design studio based in Bengaluru.

When asked about the name of the bottle, Pramod has an interesting story to share. “Clay Station’s founder Ganesh and I were stuck upon what to name the innovation. But we were particular about the name having some inspiration from the ancient era, keeping the pottery element in mind. And the first hit I found on Google was Apah, which was the Sanskrit word for goddess of water,” laughs Pramod.

One would wonder about the durability of the product, since clay tends to break.

The brain behind the innovation: Pramod Siddagangaiah.

“Here is where we have made a conscious effort to offer the product in modules. It is obvious that clay products break easily, if not handled carefully. So, the lid and the clay container can be bought separately and thus letting one retain the lid,” he adds.

With an aim to offer a sustainable alternative to plastic bottles, Livegreen India has not only banked on the ancient art of pottery but revolutionised the concept as well.


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One Apah bottle costs ₹399 while the lid and the clay container costs ₹210 and ₹189 respectively.

You can buy these bottles on the website. Apart from the clay bottles, Livegreen also offers vertical gardening and modular composting services.

You can reach out to Livegreen at support@livegreenindia.com or 7259835825.

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Written by Lekshmi Priya S

Shuttling between existentialist views and Grey's Anatomy, Lekshmi has an insanely disturbing habit of binge reading. An ardent lover of animals and plants, she also specializes in cracking terribly sad jokes.