A PET AidPod?

PET AidPod on roof

As happens from time to time, I’ve had a lot of trouble with Jane lately: waking me up at all hours of the night to tell me new ideas that can’t wait till morning. This is all the more worrying, as usually when she’s asleep it’s like trying to raise the dead and takes at least 2 cups of tea to get a coherent sentence. Maybe it’s due to exposure to the Biarritz sun for 6 hours, while she waited for us to arrive at the end of the ColaLife bike ride. Or exposure to all the tips, links and titbits of information that our supporters keep sending in (thank you!). Or both.

Anyway, we’ve been thinking about what material to make the AidPod from for some time now:

  • Waxed card? Environmentally friendly, cheap, but not sufficiently water-proof; and probably not very tamperproof.
  • Card with seeds embedded in it, so you plant it when you’ve finished with it! Even Greener. Even less waterproof 🙁
  • Plastic of some kind. Yes, waterproof, tamperproof; but hardly ticks the sustainability box.
  • Re-cycled or re-formed plastic. Yes, getting there. But can we get it made in Africa?

And, we’ve been struggling with the problem of how to enable mothers in African villages to make up Rehydration Salts accurately, in a clean container, with the cleanest available water.

Jane’s latest light-bulb moment is to re-design the AidPod, so it serves  both as packaging to carry the Oral Rehydration Salt sachets (with educational materials etc) and as a measuring container, and also see if we can double it up as a simple home-based water cleaning device. Thanks to a passing comment about bottles on the roof from Hubertus Hoffman who we met at Cambridge in June, a link sent by Pippo last week (you know who you are) and a few other bits of jigsaw, we’ve started investigating the option of making the AidPod from PET (PolyEthylene Terephthalate). Could a PET AidPod be filled with water, left on the roof in the sun for 6 hours and then have the Rehydration Salts mixed in, for feeding sips directly to the sick child? Solar water disinfection (SODIS) is now recommended by WHO as a viable method for household water treatment.

At the moment, we’re really excited about this idea. It’s seems the sort where the more you look into it, the more obvious it seems.

It’s surprising what 6 hours in the sun can do!

Any experts out there? As always, comments and insights welcome.


  1. David Wilcox says

    What a lovely update, connecting us directly with the team and reminding us of how you continue to connect your thoughts so closely with those who will be using Aid pods and their contents. Hope you are getting a holiday too!

  2. Clare Cunningham says

    This sounds like a great idea.

    I recently discovered this company https://www.shapeways.com who make custom 3D printed and laser cut products. You might consider using them for prototyping this idea.

    Best wishes,


  1. A PET AidPod?:
    As happens from time to time, I’ve had a lot of trouble with Jane lately: waking me up at … https://bit.ly/cROf9n #charity

  2. Simon Berry says:

    A PET AidPod anybody? https://is.gd/fgnUv Something to think about over the weekend . . . #colalife