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packaging that encourages return

This idea creates consumer engagement and incentive to return small format packaging to stores/manufacturers

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Refinement update:

Single use sachets for liquid consumer products like shampoos or ketchup are difficult to collect, sort and recycle. They consequently end up as litter and clog drainage systems. While the technology to recycle them exists, there is no process in place to collect them back again.

The challenge is to ensure the small sachets reach the recycler, and all the stakeholders must have an incentive.

The consumer

In india, the volumes of  single-use sachets are consumed by middle and low income families. These are majorly in rural and semi-urban areas, but present in urban areas as well, due to the economic diversity present in indian cities. They are daily/ regular users of sachets due to economic constraints. They can’t afford buying in bulk. Average of 20 sachets per household per month are sold in rural india.

After using these sachets, these users are not concerned with the appropriate disposal, and end up having an impact on the living conditions and environment.

They have no incentive to be responsible for the disposal or recycling.

The recovery channel

These include the customers, retailers, brand corporations, waste pickers, recyclers and government bodies.

In the current linear process of corporations selling sachets, there is currently no demand for the used sachets and hence no value in collecting them.

The proposed solution works in 2 parts.

Phase 1 is to initialize the process by getting the core stakeholders involved. This process focuses on getting the sachet back from the consumer by rewarding them.

To begin this process, one of the largest selling brands In the country should be approached to take the first step. They will offer to the consumer- a free sachet for every 20 used ones that are returned. Considering that the volumes of sachets are sold to value conscious consumers, this will be an incentive as it will be a directly relevant result of returning the used sachets. This reward will also start a widespread loyalty to the brand that initiates the offer.

(There is a case study reference that shows the active participation of consumers in such programs- 

 Chik Shampoo (brand: Cavinkare) an Indian personal care brand, employed the following sachet return system to gain market share in rural and semi-urban India.

Offer: a free Chik Shampoo sachet for five used sachets of any shampoo. Later, they altered the scheme: one free Chik Shampoo sachet for five Chik Shampoo sachets only. Their sales went up from Rs 35,000 to Rs 1.2 million in a month. This indicates that there was high user participation and users would return sachets if there was a clear benefit.)

 

The brand will promote this offer through local retailers. It would be ideal for all retailers to participate in this program as this will be more convenient to the consumers and thus be a more effective solution. To encourage the retailers, the retailers can be provided a collection basket that also acts as a display unit and has advertising space. He will also benefit from selling the collected sachets back to the brand. This is done with the assistance of local waste pickers, who will collect the used sachets from all the grocery stores in their community. The collective sachet waste in then sold to the recycler. The recycled material is sold back by the recycler to the brand.

This phase will help establish a value to the sachets. Currently, there are limited facilities that can recycle multi layered sachets. As the sachet waste increases, there will be a need for more recycling units.

Phase 2 brings into the system a government program called the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in India (Clean India Mission). As more consumers and retailers participate, more recycling units will need to be set up. Here, government bodies like the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in India (whose key focus is on cleanliness and sanitation) can help with the investment. They have been the primary drivers for waste segregation around India. With the re-collection of sachets in place and the constant demand for them from the recycling units, the closed loop will be fully functional.

Waste of all single use sachets for liquids will be collected at this point. The demand and benefits are now handled by the recycler. The consumer now gets a monetary benefit for returning the used sachets to the retailer. This benefit can be in the form of digital currency. The retailer then sells the sachets to the recycler. He receives monetary value for the same.

(Due to the recent demonetization initiatives, cash free economy has penetrated rural sectors. Banking and online shopping have developed at a fast pace. Widespread grassroots education campaigns have been launched to provide the technological know-how and get people on the digital economic grid).

The recycler is free to sell the recycled material to any other manufacturer.

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Single use sachets for liquid consumer products like shampoos or ketchup are difficult to collect, sort and recycle. They consequently end up as litter and clog drainage systems. While the technology to recycle them exists, there is no process in place to collect them back again. 

The challenge is to ensure the small sachets reach the recycler, and all the stakeholders must have an incentive.

There are 3 key stakeholders- the consumer, the shopkeeper and the recycler/manufacturer.

The consumer uses sachets daily/on a regular basis as they can't afford buying necessities in bulk (due to income constraints and convenience).

This consumer buys a few sachets a day for themselves/ their family from the grocery store. Currently they have no incentive to be involved in the disposal or recycling. A system where the consumer is encouraged to return these sachets to the grocery store can help avoid sachets becoming litter.

The process: 

These sachets are to be returned to the grocery store once used. A set of say 4 sachets when returned, gets a stamp on a card.
6 such stamps corresponding to the same brand complete the set and the consumer receives a free sachet of the same brand. This is their incentive to be part of the recycling process.

The shopkeeper collects the returned sachets from all the consumers and hands them over to the recycling unit/manufacturer for a fee. Once these sachets are returned to the recycling unit, the key issue is resolved. All brands that sell sachets as well as the municipal corporation have invested in this process. The consumer will become loyal to a brand since purchase and return of sachets of the same brand would help them complete the card and receive the free sachet. This would additionally motivate brands to be part of the solution.

There is another set of consumers whose need arises from convenience of portability and having the right quantity of contents. They are not necessarily cost-conscious and they may not use sachets regularly. To encourage return from them, other forms of engagement might be needed.

For this we have considered the development of a game- a puzzle that completes every time sachets are returned to the shop. This can be done with the help an app. Instead of the stamp from the shopkeeper, you receive a piece of a puzzle on the app. On completing this puzzle, this consumer would also receive reward. 

Idea Title

reward return

Website

mitin - http://www.coroflot.com/mitinanand/portfolio malvika- https://www.behance.net/malvika

Where are you / your team located?

India

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

The idea encourages consumers to return the empty sachets thereby eliminates small format packaging waste from accumulating

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Single-use sachets for liquid consumer products like shampoos or ketchup are difficult to collect back from the consumers, sort and recycle. They consequently end up as litter and often clog drainage systems, in absence of a system to collect them back again. This solution is applicable to people who can't afford buying necessities in bulk, who consume sachets on a daily/regular basis (due to income constraints and convenience).

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

All areas that sell small single-use sachets

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

The idea would work best among users who can't afford to buy more than a few sachets a day. There is another set of consumers whose need arises from convenience of portability and having the right quantity of contents. They are not necessarily cost-conscious and they may not use sachets regularly. To encourage return from them, other forms of engagement might be needed. For this we have considered the development of a game- a puzzle that completes every time a sachet is returned to the shop.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Research & Early Testing: You are exploring an idea, gathering inspiration and information needed to test it with real users.

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

This program would give us the opportunity to conduct user testing, see the engagement levels, and tweak the solution where necessary. The system can first be tested locally with a mock-up run involving a few local shops and documenting the consumers' responses to this system. It can then be scaled up. The next step would be to encourage brands selling these products to be a part of the system, to get the recycling set-ups in place.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

The idea evolved from a brainstorming session

Tell us about your work experience

mitin- product designer, mechanical engineer & design and development consultant for start-ups malvika- product designer, worked with a variety of products & systems : research-concept-market

Please describe, in detail, your business model and how you intend to test and iterate this model.

The proposed solution works in 2 parts. Phase 1 is to initialize the process by getting the core stakeholders involved. This process focuses on getting the sachet back from the consumer by rewarding them. Phase 2 brings into the system government programs. As more consumers and retailers participate, more recycling units will need to be set up. Here, government bodies can help with the investment.

Please explain how your innovation will work within, potentially improve, and provide benefit to the plastics system.

This solution intervenes within the existing system, by understanding the users’ mindsets. It addresses the issue of collecting the used sachets, by creating a demand for them, and rewarding the return in a simple way that has immediate impact and obvious incentive to the user. This helps segregate the waste at source, ensuring it is picked up before it could become waste. The ideas employs existing resources and infrastructure like the waste pickers and grocery shop outlets.

Please describe, in depth, how your solution will reduce the overall environmental footprint of packaging.

We acknowledge that there are many aspects of such a sachets that are beneficial to their current users and have chosen to retain the current format, and instead intervene in the recovery process. The process of recycling these sachets will help reduce the littler, and the overall negative environmental impact that the improper disposal causes. Reducing the litter, and thus reducing the subsequent problems posed by it also helps improve living conditions in rural and semi-urban communities.

Please outline how your design, material, and delivery choices will influence price, and how you intend to address the price increase that may result from this solution.

A reward of 1 free sachet for every 20 used ones is a 5% value of the product that they are purchasing. While this impacts the brand, it will also increase the sales for the brand that takes the initiative to begin the process. Investment will need to be made to provide the retailers with the collection units. This provides incentive to the retailer to be a part of the process. The cost of setting up recycling units can be aided by government bodies.

Please explain how your solution will impact user behavior, and what design considerations you've included to ensure easy and intuitive interactions with your Idea. 

The solution has been proposed considering the users lifestyle. It is a solution that requires minimal behavioural change. We have integrated the solution into their daily life by giving them a chance to return the sachets at any grocery store. The retailer has space constraints in his store, but is always looking to sell more products. Offering him a display stand that acts as an extension of his shop and a possible revenue stream for advertizing encourages him to be a part of the process.

Please describe how you intend to use the prize funding, if selected as a Top Idea. Be specific.

This would give us the opportunity to conduct further user tests and gather feedback. The system and products involved (like the collection unit) can be iterated and modified with this feedback. A pilot run can be carried out within a community.
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Attachments (6)

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business model phase 2

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business model phase 1

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current scenario and intervention area

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update: conversation with retailers

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update: conversation with waste pickers

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update: conversation with consumers

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