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Plastic 2.0… A fundamental shift in our relationship with reusable plastic packaging launching in 2020... Stage 1: Bottles

A movement embracing Advanced Technologies, Rich Communications, Human Instincts, Super-Functionality, new Material Values, and Smart Design

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Plastic 2.0 is an open source Global Movement and Philosophy that represents a fundamental major shift in our relationship with plastic.  It embraces the most technological material advances, human instincts, and strategic expertise to unify a game-changing 'love' for a the new reusable plastics economy that will launch in 2020.   

Q. So how might we get products to people without generating plastic waste?
A. We already know how do this…

This challenge needs some BIG BRAVE THINKING to have any significant impact. After two years of playing with this conundrum, we think we have the right questions to ask and the clues towards a solution which would generate (near) zero waste…  

Our historical experiences and lessons learnt are golden, we only need to remember!

The idea is simple, scalable, familiar and we've done it all very well before.  We're actually doing it now in some places, so we think the secret is in a cohesion of existing habits, presented to the world as a concise unmissable language.  We need to fundamentally change our relationship with plastic and encourage both supplier and consumer to literally ‘fall in love’ with a new economy of reusable plastics, we call ‘Plastic 2.0’… a tough and audacious grand plan, for a very grand challenge!

Whats wrong with Plastic 1.0?

Plastic is an abundant, wondrous and dynamic material.  It is our most adaptable material advancing daily, exploring new industry applications, tolerances and afterlife demands... and it does this very well.

But it has a super bad rep... Over production, ill-considered package designs and overly economical benefits to suppliers and consumers have made it one of the most disposable materials we consume.  It simply has no psycho-logical value for almost all users even though we’ve found comfort, even a sense of false gratification in it’s recyclability.  We think we're saving the planet but it is proven that recycling has only created a lot of work and confusion for ourselves, and it’s simply not a natural human fit as it stands. 

Q. Is the stress of consumer recycling actually holding us back?  
A. We are absolutely sure of it!

To launch Plastic 2.0 we will develop a super-smart range of standardised reusable packaging (units) such as containers, bottles, trays and beyond.  The units are both supply chain and consumer centred in every imaginable way, and simply better in every way than anything that is currently circulated.  We will develop a system of units from micro sachet sizes up to 10ltr flasks, exploring designs around the following criteria:

  • Reusable for a 1000+ cycles with little functional or visual deterioration
  • Easy (soft) integration into existing supply chains
  • Characteristics of glass but ‘better’
  • Hygienic robust and shatter-proof... possibly ‘BPA free Pharmaceutical-Grade Polymers’ (PETG)
  • lightweight and scalable… a size for almost every application
  • A universal system of ‘smart labelling’ through interchangeable collars or caps, or evenAugmented Reality
  • Easily ‘flushable’, ‘dishwasher-ready’ and sterilisable
  • Stackable and storable minimising negative/wasted space
  • Considerations for future home delivery integrations

That sounds expensive!

Maybe, but very possibly not… Apple didn’t start machining computers from solid aluminium to save money, they did it to resolve a fundamental problem of functionality and product longevity.  Similarly, we are starting with the most 'ideal solution' and back-engineering to discover the most viable products and processes imaginable… 

What is the ideal solution?

At the core, a global phycological shift to reusable packaging instinctually driven by ‘better’... It only needs to make common sense to all, and to guarantee successful implementation. for example:

  • Units are so good that suppliers, distributers and consumers can’t afford not to implement
  • Units are distributed into circulation with an intrinsic 1:1 value.  Value is visible, locked-in and bankable… never disposable!
  • Will be as logical an implementation as Twitter was to the internet… It serves an immediate common, logical and global purpose
  • Is as adoptable, friendly, iconic and identifiable as Mickey Mouse
  • Will excite genuine emotions of ownership, reward, and (we hope) ‘love’

How does Plastic 2.0 do this?

This idea embraces the most advanced knowledge in various key fields. Plastic 2.0 is…

  • Embracing advanced technologies - Partnering with material Industry leaders 
  • Deploying rich communication strategies - Partnering with the world’s most innovative communications gurus
  • Aligning with human instincts - Collaborating with behaviour experts, tuning the process to be as instinctive as possible
  • Designing super-functionality - Working with the worlds most reputable industrial designers
  • Creating a unified material language
  • Working with existing re-use and re-fill cultures
  • Building intrinsic material values 

We love sharing our ideas.  It would be great to develop this one with you!

Idea Title

Plastic 2.0 (Stage 1: Bottles)

Company / Organization Name

The Bureau of Abundance, Research & Design


Where are you / your team located?

Barcelona - Hamburg - London

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

To launch Plastic 2.0 we will develop a super-smart range of standardised reusable packaging such as containers, bottles and trays from micro sachet sizes up to 10ltr flasks. We fundamentally commit to the new culture, and benefits of reusables starting in 2020. In doing so, we begin to facilitate a natural and sensical transition for distributers (such as coffee shops and cafes) away from disposables and BACK to dispensers and reusables. ‘Disposable’ only needs to become a dirty word!

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

In Rajata's case (Case1), her sachets (and eventually all of her packaging) are replaced by super-functional reusable vessels which in-turn hold intrinsic value and currency. We think countries such as India are great examples of developing, receptive markets... especially receptive to function and possibly less confused by existing trends and style.

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

Initially piloted locally, eventually rolled out globally...

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

The initial stage of this project (bottles) is universal, adaptable and scalable by design so we think all developments from this stage will transition nicely into the later phases we envision such as ‘Trays’ and ‘Squeezable’ products. More geographically, similar to the ‘pure functionality’ and usability ethos of a shipping container, we are wholly committed to these solutions becoming as equally recognisable and implemented worldwide.

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.
  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.

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

It would be an incredible opportunity for this project. We have so much to do and countless more ideas explore! We will start with this initial plan, but are prepared to go wherever the road takes us… -Partner with the leading plastics developers, embrace material innovations -Define/refine test the material needs -Interrogate the product design process’s and create our MVP(s) -Explore potential product/supplier/supply chain partners (Amazon? Ocado? Unilever?) -Initiate pilot/beta scheme(s)

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

The ugly issues surrounding bottles, commercialised labelling and the physical delivery of liquids has been fascinating us for years. Two years ago we began experimenting with supply-chain reusables and psychological consumer ‘values’, and have been conducting ‘living experiments’ ever since. Our focus has been on the system design and product design, however this challenge has sent that thinking in some interesting directions which is great!

Tell us about your work experience

I am a Design Consultant working with experiences, products and conundrums. Our organisation - board© - was founded to bring creatives together to tackle challenges such as this through ‘Movements’.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure



Join the conversation:

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Hi Ryan,

Excited to see you joining this challenge. We noticed your post is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We would love to have it included in the challenge. You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your post by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top.

We are looking forward to seeing your contribution in this challenge.In this challenge

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Yes, excited to be on board! We are just finalising our info and will have it published soon!!!
Ryan x

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Ryan!

We encourage ideas to publish as soon as possible to ensure there is adequate time for them to receive feedback from our community managers and community. We're looking forward to seeing your contribution!