Bottled water is one of the environmental movement's biggest scapegoats – and for a reason: Only about 10% of plastic bottles are recycled; the rest end up in landfills, or at their most tragic, as the gruesome killers of wildlife. Recycling, of course, is only a marginal solution, as it too requires resources. Reusable bottles are a more sustainable solution, but they greatly reduce the convenience factor, leaving their on-the-go owners scrambling for refill sources.

Enter GlobalTap, an innovative sustainable water solution from Chicago-based architect and social entrepreneur Daniel H. Whitman. The project aims to provide public access to clean drinking water as an alternative to bottled water, implementing a system of reusable bottles and refill stations across high-traffic public spaces like train stations, airports, schools, libraries, campuses, malls and office buildings.

A pilot station, designed by design thinking pioneer IDEO, was installed in San Francisco last year.

Our goal is to implement a movement that integrates a fragmented ecosystem beyond basic function with dynamic attributes of sustainability."

While GlobalTap is a for-profit social enterprise, it is guided by the principle that water is a basic human right and its goal is to divert revenues from this business in the developed world to the billion people in the developing world who lack access to clean drinking water.

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.