Jaden Smith first came up with the idea of creating a sustainable water bottle when he was 11 years old

By Jodi Guglielmi
September 23, 2016 05:00 PM
Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

When Jaden Smith set out to create a renewable alternative to the plastic water bottle, he didn’t want to make just another “celebrity product.”

Smith, 18, is the brains behind JUST water, ethically sourced spring water that comes in a paper bottle. And while he’s been working behind the scenes with the company for nearly seven years, he’s only now revealing his involvement.

“We wanted to organically grow as a company without saying ‘Smith family water’ because it’s really not that – it’s water for the people.”

Through his work with JUST, Smith helped pioneer the groundbreaking bottle that reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent when compared to traditional plastic water bottles.

“One day we will get to 100 percent,” he says confidently.

Smith was just 11 years old when he first started noticing how much trash was being dumped into the ocean.

“I was talking to my dad about what was happening in the oceans and seeing how many fish were dying and how many beaches were just flooded with plastic and garbage and waste,” he says. “We weren’t using our waste in the right ways or being responsible.”

Will Smith said he wasn’t surprised by his son’s devotion to the environment.

“He’s always been shoes-off, outside, ‘See how beautiful this tree is,’ ” Will says. “It’s like, ‘Dude, we’re late. Put your shoes on.'”

And after doing some internet research and discovering the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – an island made essentially of garbage – he was devastated.

“He never let it go,” says Will.

Smith says he immediately felt the urge to find a way to give back to the environment. But after searching for investment opportunities, he couldn’t find the kind of company that was making the change he was looking for – so he decided to take matters into his own hands.

“I wanted to have an impact somewhere,” he says. “I said we should make the most renewable bottle, a bottle that’s made not from plastic. Let’s give people a choice to lower their carbon footprint with the small decision of ‘I’m going to pick up this bottle instead of a plastic one.’ ”

Along with Smith, his father and Queen Latifah are also investors in the company.

“We sought out to make a renewable alternative, and that’s what we did,” he says.