To start with, single-use sachets for liquid consumer products are common, especially in third world countries (e.g. India), because of their flexibility and the chance of exactly measuring certain products. Furthermore, single-use sachets are an affordable alternative to large bottles for low-income consumers. However, the use of sachets is (apart from the fact that they are whether eco-friendly, nor recyclable) enormously more expensive than the use of full sized products on the long term. But that is exactly the crux of the matter! Low income households often do not have enough purchasing power to be able to afford their necessities in bulks. As a consequence, they must buy small sachets, spending more money and generating more waste, which does not get recycled and evokes environmental damage.
Tackling this issue and establishing an environmental-friendly mindset, I propose reusable, more resistant and for the consumer’s use more adapted sachets, called VilLinY. It is intended that these do not differ much visually, which contributes to a simpler and accelerated adjustment. They are out of a stiffer material composition, which, besides being reusable, makes them more appealing to being recycled. VilLinY is built up on the original concept of sachets – the amount purchased is coordinated with the individual purchasing power. So that women or men, like Rajata in the first case study, can easily adapt the amount of shampoo or soap bought, to their daily needs and budgets. Using the VilLinY, consumers should even benefit with every purchase. Since less packaging material is needed, these savings should be directly transferred to the consumers. They should just pay for the actual product (without any packaging costs) and therefore should be able to afford more liquid product on the long-term.
VilLinY’ size should be as big as five single-use sachets, but with the opportunity to buy less than five portions if wanted so or only less can be afforded. This would be made possible through firstly a scale using the capacity of one sachet as measurement (up to five sachets), which is additionally colour coordinated (e.g. the first sachet is red, the second one yellow and so on). Secondly, this would be supported by a `press to close´ (p2c) zipper after each compartment (and after the fifth compartment with a double p2c zipper), so that no family member is tempted to use more than her or his ration and the sachet is prevented from leaking. Alternatively to the p2c zippers, a clip can be introduced. One can use this clip in quite a few ways - as a clasp (so that nothing can be spilled), to divide VilLinY into different portions or as a fastening for the rolled up (empty) VilLinY.
Setting up a distribution system, consumers will be able to go to their local stores and fill up their VilLinY through stopcocks, which are attached to large canisters.
Being well aware, that the conversion to a new product can be tough, I recommend an adequate transitional period, in which promotional campaigns are being held. One of these could be an exchange of e.g. ten old used sachets to the new VilLinY. On the one hand, this method will encourage men and woman to collect their used sachets and on the other hand VilLinY will not be given out freely, simultaneously preventing that too many are distributed. Additionally to the exchange campaign, it is very important to educate the consumers as well as distributers, like local shop owners. To do so, posters should be given out to all stores explaining the handling and emphasizing, especially the eco-friendly advantages of VilLinY. Furthermore, approaching the public directly is essential. By spreading the word about VilLinY, it will get easier and faster accepted by consumers, which leads to a quicker adjustment.
To maintain the people’s trust and interest in the new alternative to the known single-use sachet system, a rewarding system is included in VilLinY. Each time you bring and fill it up, regardless of one or five compartments being filled up, you will be rewarded a pearl which can be attached to the string that comes with VilLinY. Having earned ten pearls, the consumer can decide whether he or she wants to get a new VilLinY or one compartment of the old one, which is still useable, filled up for free. Subsequently, already redeemed pearls have to be marked, for instance with a sharpie point on one side. The chain with the pearls can then either be used as a bracelet, can be put aside or traded.
VilLinY comes with various benefits, not only for consumers but also for the environment. As the product is bought without any packaging, it is cheaper and as a consequence especially low income households can afford more. Furthermore, through the appeal of being used several times, less plastic is distributed to the environment, which means less plastic waste is used as landfill. This will lead to a healthier environment and clean drinking-water on the long run. The animals’ health will also benefit from this improvement, as they do not mistake little plastics (e.g. sachets) as fodder. Since the material composition used for the VilLinY makes it recyclable, no sachets will be found in the streets, where they are likely to block the drainage system flooding the area.
Seeing that people, who are using VilLinY, benefit, not only moneywise but also in their lifestyle, neighbours, friends and family will copy their behaviour and convert to VilLinY.
VilLinY is a composition of different words and meanings. The main component is `fill in´ aiming at the reuse and refilling of the VilLinY. When pronouncing it a little bit different, the word `will´ turns up, like in `I will do this´ or `I will change something´. It is written with a `V´, standing for `victory´, because you are victorious, when switching from single-use sachets to VilLinY and contributing something to a healthy environment. The `Y´ in the end symbolizes positive energy. Lastly, parts of my name `Lina´ are also included, as I am highly interested in environmental protection and improving everyone’s lifestyle.