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Nepenthes

Nepenthes: the capless shampoo bottle

Photo of Marilu Valente
25 28

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A single person over a life time uses around 800 shampoo bottles. The current consumption of personal care products, such as shampoos and shower gels, is based on disposability and this makes the sector incredibly wasteful and resource intensive.

The inefficiencies start at the beginning of the lifecycle, at the manufacturing stage. Currently industrial plastic packaging for personal care products is made with two different components: the body and the cap.

The cap is produced in one manufacturing plant and the body in a different one. They are then shipped to an assembly plant. By taking the cap production and assembly processes out of the equation, we can make the whole manufacture more efficient.

What if only one type of plastics was used for the entire bottle?

By combining the cap and body of the bottle into one element, the proposed design rethinks the entire lifecycle starting from the initial stages. Nepenthes is a packaging system for shampoos and shower gels which optimise the manufacturing process and makes the recycling easier.

The proposal uses design to rethink disposability and therefore it represents a subtle and beautiful disruption of our habits.


The design was awarded the Concepts We Wish Were Real Award: 

http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2015/12/14/nepenthes


And it was featured: 

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/may/27/waste-free-living-gadgets-list-themselves-on-ebay-lidless-bottles-design

https://www.fastcompany.com/3055371/this-sleek-no-cap-shampoo-packaging-is-easy-to-reuse-and-recycle

https://www.psfk.com/2016/02/squeezable-shampoo-bottle-disposable-packaging-nephentes.html

http://inhabitat.com/100-recyclable-nepenthes-is-a-manifesto-against-wasteful-plastic-packaging/

http://eluxemagazine.com/homestech/marilu-valente/

http://www.ambalaj.se/2016/03/21/schampoo-of-the-future-by-marilu-valente/

http://the-ipf.com/2016/10/18/sustainable-design-plastic-waste/


Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF): https://youtu.be/nTCaCa_FtTM

Plasticity Forum 2016 London: https://youtu.be/S7n7jIYQxGo






Idea Title

Nepenthes: the capless shampoo bottle

Company / Organization Name

I am the lead designer from Merged Vertices, a design firm which focus principally on sustainability and the circular economy.

Website

http://www.merged-vertices.com/

Where are you / your team located?

Germany, Europe

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

As of now, the cap, body and label of one bottle are made with different types of plastic materials. In Nepenthes, the body and the cap of the bottle become one. This design makes the manufacturing process more efficient as it is done with only one manufacturing technique and does not require the sourcing of different types of plastics. And at the end of life, having a capless bottle would also eliminate the need of separation during the recycling process.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Use case 2: Bottle caps and tear-offs

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

Global

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

The first step would be to refine the design from a technical point of view with industrial manufacturers, in order to have the product market ready. Partnering with a global personal care brand would enable a quick expansion. The idea would be to develop in collaboration with the brand a whole line of capless personal care packaging as a statement of environmental and social responsibility.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.
  • Piloting: You have started to implement your solution as a whole with a first set of real users. You may have started to develop a business model for your idea, including identifying key customer segments, relevant partnerships, go-to-market strategy, and draft financials.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

The accelerator program would give me the resources to develop a market entry strategy. The backing from the sponsors would also provide a better position to contact potential customers and getting faster to the right contact person. Furthermore, the network of partners would be an invaluable asset to potentially run a pilot to introduce the product to the market.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

The idea emerged by challenging the current design of personal care plastic packaging which is made with two difference components. Finding inspiration in Nature, I came across the Nepethes plant which is a carnivorous plant with a cavity called the pitcher which finishes in a thin flexible root used to hang over branches. In the same way the cavity of the pitcher can be interpreted as the container and the flexible root as the cap.

Tell us about your work experience

I worked for international design and engineering firms before co-founding a startup in electronic waste recycling and starting a freelance design firm focused on sustainability.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Freelance designer

25 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Katerina Kon
Team

Wow Marilu! What a great idea, I hope to be able to buy this bottle soon! Please keep me posted on the progress :)

Photo of Marilu Valente
Team

Thank you Katerina I will keep you posted!

Photo of Nane Seitz
Team

Awesome! I really like the design - i was able to hold the prototype and it's ergonomic and easy to use. And i mean - Imagine a colorful bottle like this in your bathroom - that would look amazing!

Photo of Marilu Valente
Team

Thank you for your feedback Nane!

Photo of Ellie
Team

Marilu, it was such a pleasure and honour to work with you at UNLEASH. Your knowledge and expertise in circular design, and the plastics and personal care industry was so crucial to our idea. I have no doubts that you will take your bottle far, and that your dedication to circular, responsible and sustainable design will shine through.
So happy to see this here on openIDEO. Can't wait to see where this goes!

Photo of Marilu Valente
Team

Hey Ellie thank you for your kind words!

Photo of Raad Seraj
Team

I have come to work with Marilu at UN's UNLEASH global innovation lab, the first of its kind and I have seen her commitment to conscious and responsible design. Wish you all the best Marilu!

Photo of Marilu Valente
Team

Thanks Raad!

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Marilu!

There are 7 days left in the refinement phase.

If there is key information in the comments on your idea submission, I recommend that you move them to the main body of your idea submission before the cut-off time.

I just want to remind you that the deadline to complete the Refinement Questions via the online submission form is August 31 at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Photo of Guilherme Broliato
Team

Hello Marilu Valente , I already knew your packaging, I think it very fantastic! I even heard about it during my final phase of my degree in Design this year. My observation is, the idea is that packaging be used only once and discarded or reused several times? How do you imagine labeling? Anyway, congratulations to the incredible project and its awards! : D

Photo of Marilu Valente
Team

Hey Guilherme! Thank you for the nice feedback. I also have to congratulate you for your Voltei project, it is very nicely visualised anc communicated. In regards to your question, for market entry, the bottle would be produced as disposable then when the market is more ready, it will be refillable. So basically the design can be used as a disposable bottle (even if disposable there would be reduction of plastic waste because you take out the cap) but also as a refillable one. In this case the opening would be placed at the bottom and it would be big enough so you can easily clean the inside of the bottle and refill it.
Hope this answers your question, I'd love to connect on linkedIn or other and maybe collaborate at some point!

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Marilu!

Welcome to refinement!

I look forward to seeing the business model for Nephentes. What other products could it be used for?

I know you have done some prototyping. Have potential customers used the nephentes bottle as a shampoo bottle?

You might want to check out InLid - another idea in refinement - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/circular-design/refinement/icecap - it has a really good example of using video to demonstrate rapid prototyping and getting feedback from the users. I know you already have lots of expertise in this area but I thought this idea might interest you.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me by tagging me here (@ followed by my name) or send me an email - krushton@ideo.com

I just want to remind you that the deadline to complete the Refinement Questions via the online submission form is August 31 at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Photo of Soren
Team

Very cool! The world's first Klein bottle for shampoo... Looks a bit difficult to refill, though?

Photo of Marilu Valente
Team

Hey thanks for the feedback! The bottle could be refilled in different ways which I am currently researching right now. One option would be to have an opening that you can open and close at the bottom and refill it from there.

Photo of Soren
Team

That would be a great idea - and quite simple to achieve in silicone. It would also make the product way easier to manufacture! And you can place the exit hole in the trunk instead of the body (which is more intuitive) and close the cavity in the body to seal the trunk. We think that you're close in having a real sellable product! :)

Photo of PRACHI
Team

Hi marilu. Nice to connect here.

Great work on the bottle. It's very well thought and executed. I just wanted to know if this is a squeeze bottle. Is there a possibility for it to deform as it has a very small nozzle?
And how do we refill this bottle or is it only a one time use?

Photo of Marilu Valente
Team

Hey PRACHI Thanks and great to connect with you too. Nepenthes is indeed a squeeze bottle especially because of the small nozzle, I produced a 3d printed prototype that you can test and squeeze.
I envisioned the bottle in two versions, one is a one-time use version and the other a refillable version. The refillable version would either have an opening from the bottom that you can open, refill it and close again. And I am also researching ways of refilling it from the flexible element too.
I also like your innovative approaches to sachet designs, would love to help you there!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Marilu Valente 

The Ideas Phase of the challenge closes TONIGHT at 11:30 p.m. PT. Your post is currently unpublished, in draft mode. In order to be eligible for evaluation, your post must be published on the platform.

We'd love to have it be included in the challenge. You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your post by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. Thanks!

We encourage ideas to publish as soon as possible to ensure there is adequate time for them to receive feedback from our community managers and community. We're looking forward to seeing your contribution in this challenge!

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Marilu!

It is great to see you in the challenge! I have seen your bottle before in design articles and it is great to see it here and learn how it was inspired by the plant.

How would this compare cost-wise to existing solutions? What materials could this bottle be made of?
Are you able to share any feedback you have received from manufacturers and consumers?

You might want to include this in your submission:

https://www.psfk.com/2016/02/squeezable-shampoo-bottle-disposable-packaging-nephentes.html

'The Nephentes remains just a prototype-in-the-making, but it was awarded first place in the Concepts We Wish Were Real international design competition, encouraging its possible production one day. The fact that it has not been produced yet means Valente aims to one day manufacture it out of bioplastics – further in line with its eco-friendly cause.'

Photo of Marilu Valente
Team

Hey Kate! Thank you for your input and for sharing the article. I talked to manufacturers and I had a lot of feedback in different directions. Cost-wise, the initial R&D process would make the initial price point higher than existing solutions, so this would be a potential obstacle for market entry, however the ecological argument would justify the high price. From the consumers side, I also receive a lot of feedback, which was overwhelming (many were already ready to buy the packaging). People really liked the design and the fact that it is combined with an environmental cause.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Thank you!

If you have time I do recommend including that article link and mentioning your first place award in the Concepts We Wish Were Real international design competition in the main body of your idea post. Newspaper articles and awards help add weight to submissions.

Photo of Marilu Valente
Team

Hey Kate, thank you for your feedback, I added the links!

Photo of Camron Hinman
Team

Hello;)

I just wanted to say I really like the your idea. The organic shape of the bottle and the whole concept is a very creative solution to a big waste issue. The design being inspired by a plant is very well thought out. The entire idea concept seems to work well for not leaking or spilling too. Excellent work! Camron

Photo of Marilu Valente
Team

Thank you Camron! Also your idea on the Croptainer is interesting. If you need any help on the design of it, let me know :)

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Marilu Valente 

Excited to see you joining this challenge. We noticed your post is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We'd love to have it be included in the challenge. You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your post by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top.

We encourage ideas to publish as soon as possible to ensure there is adequate time for them to receive feedback from our community managers and community. We're looking forward to seeing your contribution in this challenge!