On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, devastating the island nation with 155-mph winds that cut electricity everywhere, flooded areas up to 30 inches and made it difficult for residents to access clean water and food. Hurricane Maria went down as the worst storm to hit Puerto Rico in 80 years, and considering the fact that another powerful storm – Hurricane Irma – made landfall just weeks earlier, Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million residents were in the midst of a humanitarian crisis.

Months after the storm, the Puerto Ricans that have stayed are still struggling to find clean, potable water – and that’s where Flair Flexible Packaging and Sawyer Products have entered the picture. Together, they have developed a water transport pouch that’s both portable and able to filter out contaminants from otherwise unsanitary water. The pouches have become a crucial element of the Red Cross’ relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

The pouch was constructed to withstand extremely adverse environmental conditions. It’s equipped to face the many challenges of a relief effort environment, offering specialized handles to provide carrying comfort and strength, a custom filling port to facilitate filling from a variety of sources, and custom fitments to accommodate Sawyer’s advanced proprietary membrane technology filter.

“The system is simple,” notes John Smith, of Sawyer Products. “It runs on gravity and filters out 100 percent of pathogens.”

Specifically, Sawyer Products says that its filters use barrier filtration to physically remove pathogens and particulates above 0.1 microns in size. The company says the filters allow water to pass through the side walls of the filter pores.

On the pouch side of things, it’s clear that this could not be just an ordinary pouch.

“Technical engineering worked diligently to create a formulation and configuration, including specialized fitments needed to accommodate the custom filling spout and unique filtration system,” notes RJ Foster, Flair’s marketing communications specialist. “This unprecedented pouch is equipped with specialized fitments, spouts and handles to facilitate easy filling in a variety of situations, thorough filtration using customer’s advanced membrane technology, and reliable strength that withstands rigorous and/or extremely adverse environmental conditions.”

Foster says the pouch took about two years to develop and was intended specifically for relief efforts, such as the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico.

“The rapid and ongoing deployment of these pouches to Puerto Rico to assist in the disaster relief efforts is a testament to the powerful impact flexible packaging can make on the worldwide marketplace and the global community, utilizing the most advanced technologies to meet the most basic of human needs: clean water,” he says.

Flair Flexible Packaging


Sawyer Products