OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Reusable and interchangeable container for the tourism and catering industry

Reloadable and durable containers? Oh yeah, our old friend syringe!

Photo of Elisa Perpignan
2 1

Written by

Instead of a single-use sachet, we will start using syringes or even pipettes. One of the advantages of the syringes is the high resistence of the material as well as its transparency. The content can be better measured than when a sachet is employed. Due to the safety lock, the consumer can use the content more than once, without having leakages or the need of buying a bigger recipient. The safety lock is useful during transport and commercialization, besides protecting against dirty. All the syringes will have the same shape and size to substitute sachets, independent of the brand that commercializes them. The brand can customize the volume provided to the clients by changing the initial position of the plunger. Differentiation between sectors will be made by colors, as green for the food industry products, and red for body care products. They can be distinguished even further, separating the type of products by allergenic ingredients to avoid cross contamination. Another important difference between the sector will be related to the size of the tip. The syringe will have a large tip to allow the food content to be easily squeezed, and for body care content the tip can be narrower to create a focused high-pressure spray. By means of this packing standardization, reuse will be widely possible. The syringes will not use glued labels, to not create unrecyclable stickers. Instead, each brand can print the content information directly on the syringe tube. This information will be erased during the reuse cleaning process. 

We will be responsible for informing the clients about the correct way of disposal, allowing a high reuse rate. Considering that our major clients will be the tourism and catering industries, the end-user will not be responsible for the correct disposal of our products.

Idea Title

Plunge 'n' Reload

Where are you / your team located?

We are located in Europe, the Netherlands, Delft.

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

By using reusable syringes, different industries and brands will share the same packaging. The package will not be labeled with unrecyclable sticker labels. Naturally, the service life of the syringe will be much higher than a single-use sachet. When the syringes reach the end of their lives, they can be recycled by existent processes. Therefore, small plastic items would be virtually extinct in these sectors.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Case 1 - Single use sachet for liquid consumer products. Towns, as the one in which Rajata lives, would not be flooded due to unrecyclable sachets clogging the drainage system. Mark and his athlete's colleagues could keep their packaging with them to dispose of later.

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

Anywhere possessing a tourism or catering industry, as it suits any establishment that has some control over the package disposal.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

Possible obstacles would be related to initial high costs of production and distribution due to the low number of clients. However, after a certain number of clients and possible governmental incentives to sustainable products, prices would decrease. Brands could be negative about the low visibility of their names in the product. However, by associating their image to a sustainable option would compensate. We would also need an initial investment to explain and foster the correct disposal.

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 sector is remarkably driven by costs and inertia. In order to overcome such barriers, the support of TBPAP would certainly be a game-changer. The support of external renowned parties would help convincing possible clients to shift their activities towards the proposed product. Building partnerships with food and catering companies would be an important step, as they have leverage and trust of our potential clients. Free samples could be sent to the potential partners to foster the collab.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

The idea emerged during a conversation between friends, after observing injured birds getting feed by hand. The idea of the syringe or pipette came as a perfect adaption to the sachet, for being safe and made of long lasting materials. Additionally, its fairly known technology and shape for most people and it allows extensive reuse.

Tell us about your work experience

We are a biologist and an engineer, with experience in animal behavior and aeronautics. Sustainability and innovation is what brought us together to come up with creative solutions.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Troy Gardner

good idea, we do similarly for our cold brew coffee ...even fun to sip out of like a hookah. They make both glass and plastic syringes that have easy cleanup, and high reuse.

View all comments