The O Initiative

The premise is simple; people are more likely to use water fountains if they have been involved in their creation and they are aesthetically beautiful as well as functional. This is the belief of O Initiative founder, Gretha Oost.

“People don’t want to drink from stainless steel water fountains, they are practical but they are not designed with the user in mind. O Fountain’s create curiousity, interest and happiness”.

A few years ago Gretha was reading Anita Roddick’s autobiography. She remembers seeing an image of young children in The Phillipines playing on a mountain of disposable water bottles. This was the moment she decided she wanted to do something to combat plastic pollution.

Every single day, nearly one million plastic water bottles end up in Australian landfill. It’s an overwhelming problem, Gretha wanted to create something that allows lots of individuals to take one small step to make a big difference; to use water fountains instead of buying disposable water bottles.

O Fountains combine the functionality of a drinking fountains with the beauty of public art. The first O Fountain was created at Alma Park in St Kilda East in March 2017. It used a model Gretha calls The 3 P’s. Public sector supplying the land, Private sector supplying the funding and People supplying the ideas and the art. “By creating something together, people are more likely to use it and to look after it”.

A concept that was born in City of Port Phillip is now taking wings as Gretha attempts to launch it globally, starting in her native Holland. In the region she comes from there is a word called mienskip, it has no exact English translation, but it’s the feeling you have within a close community. Gretha is intent on creating a global mienskip of O Fountain users and we wish her luck.