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Refillable Reusable dispenser (RRD)

Refillable reusable dispenser is a packaging and delivery system that will reduce plastic footprint from manufacturers to consumers.

Photo of Jocelyne

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This idea when implimented from manufacturer to the consumer will drastically reduce plastic foot print in the world and ultimately eradicate the use of small plastic bottles and one off sachets. 

The refillable reusable dispenser is a packaging large enough to be sorted out as recyclable plastic, it will be designed in a way that each product packaged in it will be dispenced automatically according to the quantity imputed either in mils, cl, kg and liter. 

RRD will be designed to Dispense Liquid and powdered products such as liquid soap, shampoo, sauce, tomato paste, powdered detergent, powdered sugar, powdered milk, etc.

How it works:

Manufacturers will package in bulk, products they were supposed to packags in small plastic bottles and sachets in one refillable reusable dispensers and distribute to grocery stores, supermarkets, restaurants, hotels etc. The refillable dispensers will then be taken back to the factory after the contents of the dispenser has been dispensed to consumers. The dispensers will be washed and reused by the manufacturer to package and distribute again. 

This idea also offers manufacturers new line of business of manufacturing customized reusable containers for any product they are dispensing and market it to consumers.

This will reduce the cost of production for the manufacturers, reduce their plastic footprint in the world, open a new line of business and ultimately eradicate small plastic bottles and one off sachets. 

A reward system will be put in place to encourage consumers to purchase the products they need from the dispense stations which will also encourage them to reuse their containers for purchases. 

The reward system that will mostly appeal to consumers is the buy more pay less. this system will encourage a consumer to reuse their containers if they pay less for refilling. e.g:- if 50ml sells for $1, 500ml will sell for $4 if you refill with reusable container. 

There will be a shift in the manufacturing industry whereby manufacturing industries will be encouraged to  adopt the RRD method. The next step will be to sensitize these companies on the importance of reducing their plastic footprint by re-packaging with RRD. This will be a disruption to the normal way of packaging. Consumers will also be made aware of the dangers of small plastic containers and one off sachets but first, if the manufacturing companies adopt the idea, consumers are most likely to follow suite. 

This idea will also give local persons business opportunity where RRD will be installed in kiosks as dispense stations, this will make it more accessible to the local population ( inspired by Bettina Fliegel). After dispensing, the local station owner either goes to the bigger market to drop the dispenser in exchange for a filled one or the manufacturers picks up the empty dispenser and drops a filled one at the dispense station. 

There will also be a change in the society, where end users will have to change their attitude towards shopping, refill instead of buying products in non recyclable packaging. 


Idea Title

Refillable, Reusable Dispenser (RRD)

Company / Organization Name

Diamond Elixir Enterprises

Where are you / your team located?

Nigeria

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

The contents of 1,000 small plastic bottles and sachets are packaged in a Refillable reusable dispensers and the dispenser can be reused 4 times or more, reducing 5000 small plastic bottles and sachets into one refillable reusable dispenser plus the dispenser can be recycled. If a dispenser is stationed in 50 stores in one state, dispensing one product, that will be 1000 small plastic bottles/sachets × 50 =50,000 × 4 =200,000 small plastic bottles and sachet footprint removed

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

It relates to the Use cases in case 1 "single-use sachet for liquid consumer products."

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

My idea can be replicated anywhere in the world, but the plan is to start up in Nigeria which is in West Africa.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

First, we introduce the refillable reusable dispensers (RRD) to manufacturers, explain the benefits of using them for packaging as it will cut cost of production and reduce their plastic footprint. When the manufacturer buys the idea of packaging with RRD, introducing it to the market becomes easier. Getting consumers to change to refilling can be challenging but most manufacturing companies have loyal customers who will patronize the dispense stations if a reward system is attached refilling.

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.

Becoming a top idea and getting the opportunity to work with the new plastic economy accelerator programe will help my idea take the next leap which includes designing the RRD with the above mentioned specifications, build my experience and capacity and also access to funding. Success will be defined as when 5 out of the top manufacturing companies adopt the Refillable reusable dispensers as the packaging method for at least one of their products.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

This idea emerged from personal observation and research. The vending machine was an inspiration for me to come up with the Refillable reusable dispensers RRD.

Tell us about your work experience

I am a social entrepreneur and a computer science graduate. Am the chief executive officer of Diamond Elixir Enterprises, a powdered detergent manufacturing company.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Diamond Elixir Enterprises is registered under Corporate Affairs Commission CAC Nigeria.

28 comments

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Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Jocelyne,

I am tagging some people here who might be interested in the dispenser - Brian Bauer whose idea Sustainable Sachet Replacement for Bottom of the Pyramid Families that Stops the Flow of Plastic Waste While Increasing Disposable Incomes is very in line with yours. Brian is one of the people behind Algramo with vending machines for bulk staples. Brian, Jocelyn is the chief executive officer of Diamond Elixir Enterprises, a powdered detergent manufacturing company.

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Also, I think Alan Somerfield with Portion Pod might be interested in this idea.

Spam
Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Kate Rushton Thanks for the suggestion.

Jocelyn, I would be curious to hear your perspective on if a business model like Algramo's is viable where you market your detergent products. We started out with powdered detergent and more recently moved into liquid detergent. The demand for our liquid detergent has been very robust. Curious to hear your thoughts.

Spam
Photo of Jocelyne
Team

Read through his idea and it is in line with my idea. Thank you.

Spam
Photo of Jocelyne
Team

@Brian Bauer Yes your business model is viable here but has not been implemented which is why am working on it. Seeing that Algramo is picking up momentum is inspiring. Being that 60% of Nigerians live below $5 a day, any product distribution model that will cut cost of living will be welcomed. I applaud your model for the social impact it has in your community.
Can you give a little insight on the challenges you faced when you first started implementation and how you overcame it. Secondly, can you tell me why the liquid soap's demand is more robust that the powdered detergent?

Spam
Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Jocelyne Cool, interesting to hear your working on a similar vending machine idea. Since we both work with BoP consumers I suspect we would share a lot of similar challenges, with some cultural factors that add some complexity. On the note of working/marketing products to BoP consumers, I recently took a really informative free course on marketing to the BoP. It was developed by Acumen-if you are (or anyone else is) interested, there is a new offering of this course in October-http://www.plusacumen.org/courses/marketing-bop.

In regards to recommendations for vending machines, I would recommend developing a smaller sized, lower cost vending machine that is very customized to the type of store that will be selling your product and slowly developed the machine with lots of in the field feedback from your storekeepers-Algramo is very focused on maximizing attention/relationship building we provide with our storekeepers and this has helped us with our growth and social impact. If your not focused on rapid growth and a large network of stores the machines can be managed without software and complex technology. But if you want to have a large network (beyond several hundred) and optimize how much product you can move technology can really accelerate your potential. Lastly, if your company has significant socio-environmental benefits that are easy to quantify there are a lot of grants and alternative financing options that can provide non-dilutive capital to help develop your business.

For Algramo, in Chile, we noticed significantly more demand for our liquid detergent, as compared to powder detergent. But there could be cultural factors that drive this demand that might not be in play in your market. Lastly, a major source of eutrophication (when freshwater gets grossly over grown with weeds and algae) is phosphorus from laundry detergents. A lot of people don't realize this and when a lot of people use phosphate based detergents it can have HUGE environmental impacts on freshwater ecosystems. Perhaps you are aware of this, if not, I would highly encourage you to seek out phosphate free detergents they don't really cost more, they clean just as good and you can market your product as eco-friendly.

Best of luck with your business!

Spam
Photo of Jocelyne
Team

Hello Brian
I am currently working on a simplified dispenser for my powdered and liquid detergent that will be installed in road side kiosk and stalls especially in low income areas. This way the product is affordable for them and also reduce the plastic waste.

We are also working towards changing to a 100% phosphorus free detergent by replacing phosphate based chemical with zeolite. It might be cheap to produce phosphate free detergent in chile but it is a bit expensive being that the sourcing and purchasing is expensive.

You made mention of grants and alternate funding opportunities for my company if it significant socio-enviromental benefit, can give me some examples or link to these opportunities.

Best of luck too.

Spam
Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Hi Jocelyne,
Interesting to hear you are bringing this idea to market in another region-I think you said you were in Nigeria? I have not worked with any companies in Africa, so anytime I see African grant opportunities, I tend to just skip over them. As well, as you can imagine, grants can vary a lot-from $5k into the millions. Really, the size of the grant you should seek depends on the size of your company, your companies past performance, how well you measure your impact (environmental and social) and the scale of the objectives you wish to achieve. Since I don't know the specifics of your company, it is hard for me to guess what level of grant is best suited to you. In addition to grants there are also impact investors who can give you low cost access to capital if you have optimal social/environmental benefits. A couple ideas I would suggest is for grants look at the USAID Development Innovation Ventures (DIV). For access to lower cost capital Acumen is one of the best. But just google 'Africa grant opportunities' or 'social impact investment' and both of these will bring up lots of potential options.

Congrats on moving towards phosphorus free detergents! Best of luck with your business!

Spam
Photo of Jocelyne
Team

Thank you for the suggestions Brian, am on it and yes am from and implementing it in Nigeria.
My company is relatively very young but we have made social and economic impacts that are measurable. For example, we have trained 40 rural women and have made 15 of them our local off gamers in 5 rural communities. With the Red, we can empower more women and youths which will also increase our turnover.

Spam
Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Hi Jocelyne,
Focusing on benefiting women creates significant social impact and there are a lot of foundations and grants that value businesses that increase gender inequality. If it works well for your business, it might be a wise strategy to focus on working with women. Another thing that can clarify your impact and attract investors is aligning your business with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Spam
Photo of Jocelyne
Team

Hi Brian
My business is aligned with SDGs 8 ( decent work and economic growth), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 10 (reduced inequality) and 13 (climate action) .
We focus on working with women and youth, depending on the work available at the time and they both get the capacity building Trainings that we provide for them.

Thank you Brian for the insights, looking forward to more.

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