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Zero plastic waste for household cleaning products using reusable containers and water-soluble sachets by post

We can achieve zero plastic waste from the packaging of household cleaning products by redesigning the system to maximise reuse of all parts

Photo of Lorne Mitchell
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This idea is not original.  It is already being provided by a UK-based company called SPLOSH.

A range of household cleaning products have been concentrated into sachets and the sachets are water-soluble.

The plastic containers are reusable many times over.

Zero Plastic Waste.


P.S. I have no relationship with SPLOSH.  I'm using them as an example.

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

Small water-soluble sachets are sent in the post. For larger refills, the plastic packaging is sent back for a refill. Zero Plastic Waste. Cool.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Case 1 - Rajata Geography - The World.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

This is already being scaled up by SPLOSH. To scale it further, we would need to partner with them (or equivalent company) and find new channels to market as well as finance to grow the idea worldwide quickly. This is one of three material streams we are working on for a larger zero plastic waste system.

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.

If this became a Top Idea, then we would work with the Accelerator Programme to expand the market for refillable solutions for household cleaning products and makeup by post. We would test different ways that the postal services could be used to maximise zero plastic waste.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Inspired by Splosh!

Tell us about your work experience

I am a business designer, entrepreneur, engineer and beekeeper.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Private Limited Company registered in England and Wales.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Christel Tardif

Hey Lorne Mitchell I find this business model inspiring! My question is: in our society, people want everything quickly, almost immediately. This model has one major inconvenient: it requires the consumer to send sachets back to the manufacturer and wait for refill to come... How Might We help the consumer to manage his products procurement and avoid lack of products?

Photo of Lorne Mitchell

Christel - There are two types of sachet. The majority are water-soluble - so there is no return path necessary. For the larger plastic pouches, then you send them back once you have done the refill. So unless you are an industrial cleaner, the next pouch can be ordered and delivered whilst you use the liquid from old one.
HP has now moved its whole business model to a subscription-based printing as a service - where the machine tells HP to send a refill because the old ink cartridge is getting low. An equivalent business model could be applied here (though I don't believe Sposh is doing so).
At the most fundamental level, we need to educate consumers and let them see the stark choices that we must make to shift from the old world (linear one/time use plastic waste) world to the new world (circular, reuse many times, zero plastic waste).
This shit will fundamentally disrupt the current business models of the global chemical and FMCG conglomerates as well as the larger supermarket chains.
Yet without consumers having the the knowledge and choice of alternative circular business model designs, the status-quo will continue to pump-out one-time plastic containers waste because they can.
Perhaos we need some serious law-making to persuade the designers in these large companies to think differently about how their products AND containers AND business models need to change? New Delhi is one example city that is leading the way.
Don't start the Circular Design Revolution without me!

Photo of Troy Gardner

I think the netflix model is the right approach here. Basically 2 mailers can be in play overlapping so that say you are 80% done with your current box, and perhaps it's smart enough to auto order, you get the next set about the time you are done with the last set and then use the old mailer to send back the spent packets, along with say whatever 'trials' you didn't like.

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