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IDEA Spotlight: A Water Filter Easy on the Eyes and the Environment

The Tami Bar Primo produces plenty of filtered water without damaging the environment.

IDEA Spotlight: A Water Filter Easy on the Eyes and the Environment

Of the 35 billion plastic water bottles Americans buy each year, nearly four out of five end up in a landfill or an incinerator. That’s a hell of a lot of trash for a few sips of exotic mountain freshness. NewDealDesign‘s solution: the Tami Bar Primo, which produces plenty of filtered water without damaging the environment. And unlike most kitchen appliances out there, it isn’t a spectacular eyesore.

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Primo is a sort of souped-up water cooler for your countertop. Using proprietary carbon technology, it spews hot or cold filtered water directly into your glass or pitcher — none of this pour-it-yourself business — at a rate of 2 liters a minute. That amounts to 1000 water bottles not consumed then tossed annually per household. So if 500,000 families use the water filter, they eliminate waste from 500 million bottles a year.

Water filters, of course, aren’t new, and the appliance’s real selling point is its design. The spout’s tall enough to fill pitchers, but can also fill small glasses; all you have to do is pop out the tray.

A small cluster of buttons keeps the interface simple, so you don’t accidentally pour cold water into your teacup.

And all the filter paraphernalia is hidden under the lid, eliminating visual clutter.

Aesthetically, the round edges and a playful two-toned body make it look like less of a water filter than a vase that just happens to spit out water. Primo won silver in the 2010 International Design Excellence Awards last month.

Unfortunately, the appliance isn’t cheap — about $1,000, plus $70 for a filter, which needs to be changed twice a year. But considering that bottled water costs about as much if not more and then factoring in the environmental savings, it actually checks out to be, as the name suggests, a primo deal.

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For more IDEA award winners, click here.

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.

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