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Re-thinking personal care dispensing for BoP population in India to eliminate sachets and increase packaging recyclability.

A dispensing system with simple design that allows for reuse and easier recycling.

Photo of Eliziane Dorneles Siqueira
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Small sachets continue to be extremely popular in India. Sachets of flexible plastic up to 10 ml account for 98% of unit sales of standard shampoo in 2013 as consumers continue to be very price-conscious, especially in semi-urban and rural areas. 

This is a successful format across the country as the majority of consumers has a extremely reduced disposable income and wages are paid daily/ weekly.

Unfortunately, this convenient packaging format is not currently recycled to to its low weight and because it is a made of a combination of different laminate materials. Every year, tons of used sachets end of on landfills and on the streets of India.

Given the huge environmental cost created by this market, a new model has to be proposed. However, consumers cannot afford the burden of a product cost increase.

The current chain for this format is displayed below:

Given this scenario, we propose a new system bulk distribution system which replacesd uni-dose sachets. It has been designed with focus on needs from Indian consumers. 

The new system comprises two main elements: 

1. A dispensing device to be placed in the traditional retailer store. 

2. A small reusable container that will be given to the consumer and will be replenished at each purchase.

The proposed system is inspired by current selling practices in India traditional retailer. It will be displayed hanging from the walls or ceiling of traditional local stores in the rural/ semi-urban areas in India. Consumers would carry their own reusable rigid container and buy shampoo in bulk from the rigid plastic dispenser placed in the local shop.

The original proposal is to Product manufacturers (Brand Owners) to provide small rigid containers to consumers. They would keep the same container for several uses. The expense from container donation could be calculated in the business case of the project as a compensation from the single-use packaging cost. Alternatively, consumers could be given fidelity paper cards that would be stamped at the moment of each purchase. After a given amount of time, the person is granted a nicely decorated reusable packaging with the brand logo.

Idea Title

Re-thinking personal care dispensing to eliminate sachets and increase packaging recyclability for BoP population in India.

Where are you / your team located?

Paris, France.

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

The in-store container is made of three rigid plastic parts which can be reused as follows:
- Hanger and dosing part: To be kept at the local store for multiple-time usages (i.e. during a period of 6 months to 1 year).
- Container: To be replaced when the full volume is sold and shipped back to manufacturer. The manufacturer could wash and reuse it. Labeling is done via In Mold labeling to grand resistance for multiple-times filling and transportation.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Case 1 - Single use sachet for liquid consumer products.

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

The idea has been thought for implementation in India. It also has potential for implementation all over South Asia and South East Asia, as these markets rely heavily in small sache formats for personal care products.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

The design solution would be sold to medium size companies planning to enter the personal care market in India.

Obstacles/ Barriers:
1. Change in consuming habits;
2. Change in dispensing at point of sales/ change in POS layout.
3. Capex needed for tooling (new molds for the three dispensing parts).

Topics number 1 and 2 should be evaluated during a pilot test. Pilot test results, if positive, could build up to a new brand proposition and justify the investment in tooling.

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 from where your Idea emerged

This is an individual idea.

Tell us about your work experience

I have been working as a packaging engineer for 7 years (6 in a multinational company and 1 as a packaging consultant). I worked for 16 months developing products for BoP populations in India.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Not applicable.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Eliziane Dorneles Siqueira !

As Refinement Phase quickly comes to a close in LESS THAN 7 HOURS, I want to remind you that the following must be submitted by tonight, August 31st at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

1. Submit the Refinement Questions Form online that was sent again via email yesterday evening--we have not yet received this from you. These questions are mandatory for Top Ideas consideration, so this should be your first priority in the final stretch.

2. A secondary priority, which is optional, is to update your Refinement Phase post. I see you've already updated your concept on the platform. But please share any additional information, photos, and documentation of your progress throughout this Phase!

If you have any questions, please email

Looking forward to reviewing and celebrating the amazing work you've achieved this Refinement Phase!

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