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  • by Karma Loveday

Innovative coincidence as Northumbrian goes global with "big challenges"

As Northumbrian Water this week invited innovators worldwide to contribute proposals for a currently unavoidable need for plastic bottles, not-for-profit company, Belu, separately unveiled its move to make all of its plastic bottles from recycled plastic.

Northumbrian’s call was for an alternative to using plastic bottles when water companies have to respond to pipe bursts and other incidents that take people off supply. It was the first of a series of “big, real-life challenges” the water firm plans to highlight under an online initiative dubbed Amplify.

Northumbrian said it was inviting “every innovator and creative mind from across the world” to join the Amplify online forum and contribute innovative measures to tackle problems.

Launching Belu’s 100% recycled policy, chief executive Karen Lynch said, ‘We have come to the conclusion that where the single use can’t be removed, the answer to our anti-plastics challenge, is in fact, plastic. Our message is to first use less, but when you buy bottles, buy better.” Other larger plastic bottle manufacturers have made similar moves.

Belu describes itself as “a social enterprise that gives 100% of profits to charity WaterAid.”

Amplify is Northumbrian’s latest extension to its annual Innovation Festival in which it gathers companies for within and outside the water sector to develop ideas and measures through design sprints to solve water-related problems.

Northumbrian will appraise proposals received the Amplify and, ”there is potential financial backing and funding to develop and trial the best ideas.” Northumbrian's head of innovation, Angela MacOscar (pictured), said: "We love new ideas that will make a difference to our customers' lives and when we find them, we will back them completely.”

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