Case study

Dopper: Designing the ultimate sustainable bottle with Ecochain Mobius 

These are the highlights of Dopper’s Ecodesign journey:  switching from product footprints on Excel to Ecochain Mobius; measures to diminish raw material impacts; crafting their own digital product passport.

Numerous tales circulate about the Dutch and their relationship with water. But have you heard about the “drink from the tap revolution” unfolding in the Netherlands? It is trickling over to neighboring countries and the Iberian peninsula, too! While consumer awareness about the negative impacts of plastic pollution has grown worldwide [1],  Dopper has zealously led the fight against packaged water in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and Spain. Nowadays, Dopper bottles seem to be essential Dutch survival gear [2]. Their iconic design evolved under the hood over the years – informed by environmental data from Ecochain Mobius.

Challenge: Product footprint of alternative design options in Excel

Dopper wanted to convince the world to just refill – using science! They started their product footprinting journey intending to publish a peer-reviewed study, which compared their products to single-use Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. Little did they know where that journey would lead.

Initial footprint (life cycle assessment) models in Excel indicated that raw materials caused the highest environmental impacts along their product’s life cycle. Raw material impacts are a common challenge in sustainable product design.

Another challenge was that adapting product footprint models in Excel to alternative design options took forever! To design the most sustainable bottle possible (and prove it), scalable and accurate environmental footprint data on different product designs was needed.

“Our core mission is positive impact, and Ecochain Mobius gives us the transparency to showcase our products’ sustainability credentials.” 

– Niels Heijman, Research & Development manager at Dopper

Discovering Ecochain Mobius

Looking to level up their footprinting game, Dopper was not convinced by the one-off life cycle assessment studies offered by consultancies. They needed adaptable assessments that would evolve together with their products.

Mobius allowed Dopper to:

  • Easily replicate, adapt, and compare existing product models much smoother than in Excel.
  • Gain quick insights into the environmental impact of even minor design changes.

purple Dopper bottle

Figure 1: The modular design of the Dopper bottle puts water on a pedestal

Ecodesign measures taken

Where Dopper had indications before, Mobius gave them solid data. And indeed, raw materials proved to be the impact hotspot to focus their Ecodesign efforts on.

*Compared to transport and processing, see Figure 3. 

The solution for the Dopper Original (Figure 1) was partly biobased (70% of material, 30% of impacts, Figure 2) and partly recycled plastics (15% of material, 12% of impacts). These sustainable raw materials contribute significantly less to the product’s climate footprint (Figure 2) than virgin plastic (15% of material, 32% of impacts).

As is good life cycle assessment (LCA) practice, Dopper improved the validity of impact data on their hotspots, using primary impact data from their suppliers.

Dopper product footprint


Figure 2: Dopper Original bottle’s cradle-to-gate climate footprint

Other Ecodesign measures were:

  • Limiting the color choice to only low-impact pigments.
  • Making Dopper bottles’ components from a single material, ensuring recyclability.
  • The modular design (Figure 1) makes it easy to change individual parts instead of the whole bottle

Results: Where the product footprinting journey led

Dopper’s product footprinting journey resulted in a very sustainable bottle – and provided the data to prove it! Dopper opted for a more accessible way of publishing their products’ carbon and water footprints: by creating a digital product passport!

Rather than awaiting definitive EU guidelines on generic digital product footprints, they chartered this innovative territory by interpreting the EU’s guidelines for battery and textile product passports. This entailed, for example, utilizing the EN3.0 LCA method.

dopper footprint

Figure 3: Carbon and water footprint as shown in the Digital Product Passport

The overall result? The fully recyclable, multifunctional, and sustainable bottle you find in the side pocket of every second Dutch backpack!