Water is the most abundant — and the most precious — substance on earth. Our bodies are comprised of 75 percent of the stuff. And in the face of climate change, preserving water and consuming it in a sustainable way is incredibly important.

But one thing that’s not sustainable is single-use plastic water bottles. Fortunately, some brilliant people are coming up with ways to ditch the plastic water bottle and make water safe, portable, and sustainable. Check out these 4 awesome innovations in the world of water.

1. Ooho!

Picture yourself picking up a palm-sized clear orb. There’s no container, no bottle. Just an orb you can hold in your hand. Sounds pretty cool so far, right? But here’s the best part: it’s actually an orb of drinkable water. And this soft, spherical container has zero plastic. Instead, it’s held together by biodegradable material made from seaweed. These Ooho! water containers are cheap and sustainable to make. Developed by London-based start-up Skipping Rocks Lab, the project has already won a couple of notable awards.

2. Slingshot

Imagine being able to pour undrinkable water — like sewage, seawater, or water that’s contaminated with chemicals — into a very compact, portable machine. Then picture clean, potable drinking water coming out of the other end. That’s essentially what the Slingshot water purifier does through the power of vapor compression distillation. And for communities that don’t have access to clean water (roughly a billion people!), Slingshot could save lives.

3. Hemp water bottles

Hemp: it’s not what you think it is! A start-up out of San Jose, California, has created another great solution to the sustainability problem by making bottles out of hemp. Like bottles made from plastic, these are lightweight and durable, but with some key differences: they’re biodegradable and pose no health risks. They’re also recyclable and have the potential to be 2.5 times stronger than their polypropylene counterparts.

4. The Ocean Cleanup

Ever wondered what happens to all those empty water bottles we toss out? Well, a major problem with that kind of plastic is that it ends up in our oceans — 8 million tons of it per year! And chemicals from plastic make their way into the fish who consume it, which in turn makes its way to us. Many ocean cleanup projects have proposed using nets and ships to capture all the junk, but all that fuel exhaust would negate any positive impact.

The Ocean Cleanup project is different. Using the ocean’s natural currents, it employs a system of floating barriers that safely catch what comes with the tide. With this system, it’s estimated that half of the Great Garbage Patch (yes, that’s the actual term) could be eradicated in 10 years.

We can all do our part to preserve Earth’s precious resources. You can start by using a reusable water container. And check out some of our green options here at Esurance. By using hybrid claim vehicles, offering customers paperless options, and even using biodegradable cutlery around the office, we’re working hard to reduce our carbon footprint.

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about Chris

Chris has written everything from fiction manuscripts to pretend newsletters about pirates. He's even edited numerous volumes of work written entirely by kids. As a freelance writer at Esurance, he strives to bring out the whimsy and heart of insurance. Outside of Esurance, Chris is an audiophile, visual artist, and explorer of late-night taquerias.