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SOL-CAP beautiful, water soluble packaging that is alternative for single use small plastics containers and sachets.

Founder

Photo of Ayca Dundar
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Sol-Cap is an innovative, water soluble, structural packaging that is a solution for small sachet and plastic container waste. It can be used for food and cosmetic products. 

Properties of Sol-Cap

  • non-toxic, non-allergenic and odourless
  • suitable for Vegans
  • can be produced in a variety of shapes/forms
  • appearance can be transparent or pigmented and accepts printed media (for branding etc.)
  • 100% biodegradable
  • safe to ingest
  • air and liquid tight
  • long lasting shelf life, up to 2 years
  • FDA approved


We tested our packing contained with several different types of materials with different type of properties and PH levels that are listed below for 6 months. We realized that Sol-Cap is perfect for powders, gels and oil based materials. It's air and liquid tight so that it won't spill liquid and contain the material properties of the packed item for a long time. For example, if a spice is packaged with Sol-Cap, it can contain it's flavor for a long time. Likewise, If it's filled with liquid, it will hold the liquid safely without spilling it.

According to our tests Sol-Cap is suitable for:

Powders: 

Spices, salt, sugar, coffee, tea, milk powder

Oil based liquids

Gels: 

Honey, jam, vegetable and animal stocks and oil based body wash gels.


Advantages of Sol-Cap

We can address the advantages of Sol-Cap by highlighting the user and company benefits. 

Sol-Cap is offering a great option to users to choose as an alternative to plastic packaging consumption. Today, a lot of consumers are aware of the huge amount of packaging consumption and its waste therefore they are trying to find a Eco-friendly packaging alternatives. They can use Sol-Cap guilty free as it doesn't end up littering the streets, blocking drainage system or ending up in oceans digested by marine animals. It's non-toxic, even it's digested accidentally it is safe.

As consumers will demand better alternatives to packaging waste companies will have to find a solution to this problem in the long run. For consumer needs Sol-Cap is great for companies because it offers zero waste. Companies can also get benefit from using Sol-Cap to compete with beautiful little plastic packaging in the market since Sol-Cap has a clear finish. Sol-Cap also very beneficial for companies because they can use it to store many different product types.

Restaurants & Take-away Shops: 

It can be used in restaurants and take-away shops to store single use spices, oils, soy sauces as well as butter, honey and jam products for breakfast time.

Hotels: 

Single use oil based body cleaning gels and essential oils can be stored in Sol-Cap. Also in their restaurant section, they can be used to store single use spices, oils, soy sauces and butter, honey and jam products for breakfast time.

Cosmetics Industry:

Visual presentation is very important for cosmetic brands as they can be luxury and very expensive. Cosmetic shops always give away testers for their products to help users understand if that product is suitable for them before purchasing the item. Cosmetic tester containers are generally very beautifully packaged small plastic containers or sachets that only for single use. As an alternative packaging option it is very challenging to compete with current single use packages especially when it comes to luxury brands. Luckily, Sol-Cap can compete with the single use plastic packaging alternatives in the market by offering a beautiful design with an excellent clarity that looks like plastics as well as being environmentally friendly.

Product Testing

In our studio, we made several testing with bio-plastic materials that are water soluble or biodegradable. One of the challenges we had was that the packaging has to have a visual quality to be able compete with plastic ones in the market as well as it has to be low cost to manufacture. Finally we found out the right material for our purpose. The powders used in Sol-Cap are used in pharmacy industry and food industry. It is synthetic cellulose from plants. During our experiments we even tried new manufacturing methods with this materials we can also make different range of shapes. We can control the PH levels of the Sol-Cap so that it can be suitable for each material that it may contain. Sol-Cap dissolves in room temperature in water between 5 minutes to 15 minutes, based on the packaging size and thickness.

Our team is growing

Ayca and Ezgi are sisters based in London working on simplifying and improving everyday objects. They have a small studio by the Tobacco Dock.

Ayca is internationally award wining industrial designer and inventor. She holds an MA in Product Design at the Royal College of Art. Ayca has previously collaborated with several packaging companies, and has exhibited work in Beijing, Istanbul, Paris, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and London. 

Ezgi is a chemist with a passion for bio-plastics. She has experience working in a global chemical company for 6 years and holds and MBA qualification. She has experience in sales an marketing of raw materials of different types of drug capsules, which inspired her to invent biodegradable shells for different kinds of liquids, spices, cosmetics and foods.

Francis is a recent addition to the team: his background in architecture has added a new perspective on Sol-Cap and the strategy for its development. In particular he contributes expertise in areas of business planning, design management, art direction and branding. Francis holds an MA in Architecture at the Royal College of Art

Refinement Phase Developments

Through out the refinement phase we have continued our user testing and prototyping. We are encouraged by our advisor Nick Cliffe from Innovate UK to develop different shapes with Sol-Cap to show the material potential of our idea. Additionally, we received feedback from our we have developed our product further. 

We redesigned our packaging containing high viscosity products like jam and honey based on our feedback from our user testing. Our previous packaging design for gels was very thin and had narrow opening that caused frustration and delay to pouring the gels. Therefore, we made the packaging wider and shorter to enable better user experience. We decided to collect honey, jams and butter products under the breakfast theme. We believe that our breakfast package would be more appealing to hotels, restaurants, catering companies as well as users single use, non-biodegradable plastic container alternatives.  

User experience for our new breakfast packaging design:



Another feedback from our user testing was making the packaging design in way that stands upright on a flat surface which avoids spillage between uses. Therefore, we designed all of our packaging to be able stand upright position. 


Sol-Cap skin care products user testing:



Advantages of single use biodegradable packaging in oil products

We are informed by our advisor that contamination creates another problem for the recycling systems. When a contaminated packaging comes to the recycling facility, it would be very difficult and sometimes impossible to recycle the packaging, especially the ones that contained with oil based products. Therefore, increase use of Sol-Cap packaging for oil based products will increase the effectiveness of recycling plastics. 



User testing for our single use olive oil and soy sauce packaging.


We increased our cosmetics packaging design portfolio

We have found a new area of use for packaging; single use lip balm tester/sample is a new design addition in our cosmetics portfolio. We developed our lip balm packaging and made user testing with them. 

Sol-Cap lip balm user testing:


Single use Sol-Cap packaging is user friendly and can be applied easily thanks to its structural property. Our packaging comes with a cap that allows users to reuse the product more than once. According to our market research there is a demand for single use sample/tester lip care products in the cosmetics industry. In cosmetics shops users always try lipstick colours on their hands due to the hygiene issues. Also, users feel that buying one colour is a commitment, so testers and samples allow users to make right choices by allowing them test the colour and the quality of the product without spending too much money on it. However, in cosmetics industry all of the single use small packaging made of plastics and there isn't any biodegrade material options.

Our market research for single use lip care products


 

Another new addition to our product portfolio is cleansing products; facial sponge and mouth wash tablets.


The possibilities of Sol-Cap packaging is endless. Following our designs in small-scale biodegradable packaging we intend to test the application of our technology on larger items such as chocolate, biscuit and fruit trays. 



After several testing, we managed to produce larger scale packaging with our material. We strongly believe that this would open many future possibilities in structural packaging areas for our product.

We are producing our packaging in labs with small batches. In this video the preparation process of Sol-Cap material by Ezgi can be seen.



Idea Title

SOL-CAP is a structural, water soluble packaging that is a beautiful solution for single use small sachets and plastics containers wastes.

Company / Organization Name

Ayca Dundar Ltd. Bow Arts Studio, London.

Website

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ayca-dundar-878545a4/

Where are you / your team located?

London, UK

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

Sol-Cap is non-toxic water soluble and structural packaging for single use. It's a perfect solution for single use packaging waste problem. The problem with sachets and plastic containers are either too small to go into recycling or consist of hybrid materials that are complicated and they will never be recycled. The material of Sol-Cap is a synthetic materiel that is derived from plats' cellulose. It can be washed away by the rain, dissolves in the sink, bath tub or flush down from the toilets.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Rajata - Sol-Cap is suitable for oil based shampoos, gels and dry soaps. Since Sol-Cap dissolves in water it will never block the drainage and it's non-toxic. Saatwika - The main aim of our packaging design is to offer a solution for sachets that are too small to go into recycling. So that Saatwika or the people in the hotel can even throw the Sol-Cap in the sink or flush down from the toilet. Carmen - Sol-Cap is perfect for single use butter container as we test our material with butter too.

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

We would like to start implementing this idea in London. We can collaborate university labs, manufacturers, hotels and restaurants locally. We're trying to solve waste from high consumption caused by modern life living in global scale.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

Sol-Cap can be used in restaurants, hotels and cosmetic shops. We're planing to outsource our manufacturing by producing 1 million units and approach food, cosmetic manufacturers and distributors to package their items with Sol-Cap. When are planing to partner with a FMCG retailer to scale up our manufacturing capacity. In this way we can test the product in small scale before going in to market globally.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • 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.
  • Operating Concept / Startup: You have fulfilled the stages of testing, undertaken a full scale roll-out, and are currently operating this concept/idea as a business.

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

With the acceleration Program we would like to work with chemistry labs to conduct more testing and collaborate with engineers and scientists in the field. We are looking for insights and feedback from International Sustainability Unit. Making a fully sustainable product can be complicated challenging. We have working prototypes now and we are hoping to work with manufacturers to make our first 1 million unit batch develop the product further and do more user testing.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

When we saw the danger of microbeads information from Greenpeace Organization's website we were both shocked by how small plastic parts could end up in oceans and cycled back to us! Also we remembered that we used that products without even knowing that those small beads were plastics, we thought that they would dissolve in water. We realized that especially the small plastic parts could be very dangerous therefore we focused on finding a solution for small packaging.

Tell us about your work experience

Ayca is an award-wining industrial designer with a MA degree in product design and Ezgi is a chemist and has a MBA degree. Francis is a designer with a MA degree in Architecture.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Ayca Dundar Ltd. is a private limited company.

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

Please see the attached business plan pdf. There is an increasing demand for a single use, disposable and biodegradable packaging market. We have a unique product that differentiates us from the competitors in the market. With Sol-Cap, we would like to partner with companies who are environmentally conscious and open to new innovative solutions to enter the packaging market. We will outsource our manufacturing facility to produce 1 million units in the first year.

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

Sol-Cap is made of cellulose-based hydrogel that is degraded by bacteria present in air, water and soil. Sol-Cap doesn’t need special treatment to biodegrade and it doesn’t interfere with the existing recycling infrastructure. The logos we have developed will inform users of the packaging's water solubility, and will guide them to dispose of them in general waste. The products will be distributed in a cardboard dispenser to protects them from moisture, enable ease of use and transportation.

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

In contrast to petroleum-based plastics, cellulose based hydrogel is a renewable resource. The time it takes for plastic to degrade and its effect on the environment is well known. Sol-Cap avoids this issue entirely by decomposing quickly in the presence of water. Only a very low percentage of plastics are actually recycled. In acknowledgement of this Sol-Cap seeks to avoid the problematic of waste management and correspondingly saves energy that might be wasted in attempting to recycle it.

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.

We have contacted manufacturers who produce pharmaceutical capsules and have R&D departments that can help us with design for manufacture. Minimum order varies: 1 - 10 million units; and the prices vary: $5,000-$40,000. In this way the cost of manufacturing one Sol-Cap unit will average $0.015. Sale to retailers will be $0.1. With our realistic price we can easily compete with small sachets and plastic containers in the market. Please see the attached business plan for more information.

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. 

Our user test have demonstrated that Sol-Cap requires little change in user behavior when compared to existing products. It is intended that our logo serves to guide users to dispose of the wast responsibly, but fortunately, failing that, it will biodegrade naturally regardless of where it ends up.

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

The business plan attached provides a detailed break down of the funding allocation. In summary, we will use the prize to begin mass manufacturing, for studio space; salary, marketing and PR, WIPO patent application, accountancy and product testing

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Photo of Vanessa Sore
Team

Hi there,

Great idea! It sounds like you've had a lot of success from your piloting with real life user testing, especially the feedback which helped you make the improvement to your packaging design in a way so that it now stands upright on a flat surface to avoid spillage.

I'm interested to know your next steps and whether you are looking to pursue global expansion? or product breadth as part of your next phase ?

Cheers,
Vanessa S

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