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Delta

Delta is a seaweed based alternative to the billions of sachets and blister packs used in numerous industries.

Photo of Pierre Paslier

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Utilizing a proprietary alginate blend made from brown seaweed we have created a clear, transparent membrane in which water and other liquids can be held. This packaging can be eaten along with its contents, or alternatively if discarded will biodegrade in the natural environment in four to six weeks. The Delta membrane can be flavoured, coloured and can be used to contain a wide range of liquids, creams and pastes.

Idea Title

Delta

Company / Organization Name

Skipping Rocks Lab Ltd

Website

skippingrockslab.com

Where are you / your team located?

London, UK

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

This product completely redesigns small format packaging as the 100% biodegradable membrane breaks down entirely within a few months, leaving now waster and negating the need for recycling at all. Due to the packaging originating from seaweed (which is in abundance), it is a near carbon neutral solution to the energy consuming and polluting production of polymers. Any carbon dioxide released in the biodegrading of the Delta is reabsorbed by the seaweed from which it originates.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Applies to use cases 1, as we are looking at eliminating waste from the street one sachet at a time. As it is 100% biodegradable our product solves the concerns of each individual, as shown in the images above.

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

Our product is a global product that can solve the issue of plastic sachet waste everywhere. We particularly see its' applicability in Asia and Africa where sachets are widely used for all sorts of liquids.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

The aim is to develop a small, automatic machine which can be used to manufacture the Delta by businesses around the world. In an ideal world we would work with big end users initially, as they the would have the resources to help bring the machine to market and maximise impact. After the business machine we would like to develop a domestic machine for the every-day user. One obstacle is the durability of the sachet, however testing is resolving the problem.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Piloting: You have started to implement your solution as a whole with a first set of real users. You may have started to develop a business model for your idea, including identifying key customer segments, relevant partnerships, go-to-market strategy, and draft financials.
  • Full-scale roll-out: You have developed a pilot, tested, and analyzed the impact of that pilot as it pertains to the problem scope. You are ready to expand the pilot significantly and begin to scale.
  • Operating Concept / Startup: You have fulfilled the stages of testing, undertaken a full scale roll-out, and are currently operating this concept/idea as a business.

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

The opportunity to work with the accelerator program offers more resources to develop our machine. Having developed an early manual prototype, we have begun developing a non-automatic rig that can produce quality Deltas . By January 2018 we aim to have a working automatic version of the machine. The new plastics economy program will allow us to speed up the development of the commercial model, bring forward plans for a 2nd iteration with more features and help us approach relevant businesses.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

The way nature encapsulates liquids is truly inspiring. From the egg yolk to our own cells, nature uses membranes to protect precious content from the outside. Conscious of the problem of plastic water bottles, our initial project, the Ooho, began by exploring the properties of natural membranes. Further down the line focusing on seaweed. The Delta is expanding on the range of techniques and products that can be used and created with this membrane.

Tell us about your work experience

I'm a mechanical engineer and worked in packaging design at L'Oreal before doing Innovation Design Engineering MSc at Imperial where I met co-founder Rodrigo, who is an Architect and Product Designer.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Skipping Rocks Lab Ltd is a private limited company.

Please describe, in detail, your business model and how you intend to test and iterate this model.

The business model behind Delta is actually focussed around the machine that will produces the Delta sachets. We intend to be a B2B business selling machines for location based encapsulation of liquids in Delta sachets on site. We are focusing on three customer use cases for Delta that fit the focus of this competition: toiletries in single use sachets; condiment sauces in sachets for fast food restaurants; sports gels for outdoor sports events.

Please explain how your innovation will work within, potentially improve, and provide benefit to the plastics system.

Skipping Rocks Lab has focused its efforts on creating a cheap sachet made from an abundant natural resource that disappears as quickly as natural food waste. Our material can in fact be treated just like food, which is sorted from general waste into biodegradable disposal, but even if it ends up in landfill will degrade to its’ original elements. The circularity here is in its rawest form, with the material breaking down into basic biological molecules that are used by seaweed to grow.

Please describe, in depth, how your solution will reduce the overall environmental footprint of packaging.

Seaweed is easy to farm, extract and is available on virtually every coastline. Unlike PLA and other starch based bioplastics, kelp doesn’t compete with farmland and doesn’t require any fresh water or fertiliser to grow. Seaweed is also an excellent CO2 sink, and as a result a powerful agent to reduce ocean acidity allowing seashells to regenerate. In its end of life, Delta naturally biodegrades, breaking down aerobically into water and CO2 in any soil environment.

Please outline how your design, material, and delivery choices will influence price, and how you intend to address the price increase that may result from this solution.

Our Delta material is itself cheap, it is the production machine that is expensive. However we expect capex of this machine will reduce as production volumes of machines increase. With our commercial model price per unit is a function of the lease plus material cost spread across volume produced, therefore to achieve the lowest possible unit price we want to maximise volume throughput.

Please explain how your solution will impact user behavior, and what design considerations you've included to ensure easy and intuitive interactions with your Idea. 

Delta is an evolution of our previous product Ooho which was a spherical product. Through consumer testing for Ooho over the last year, we have found that some people found it unintuitive to use as a sachet as they didn’t know where to tear it, where they had made a puncture or how to put it down. The shape of Delta is therefore a development of the Ooho product specifically for a sachet application and in response to consumer feedback.

Please describe how you intend to use the prize funding, if selected as a Top Idea. Be specific.

Currently, our financing is a lean budget that only supports development of our first product, Ooho, for our initial target market of packaged water. So additional funding would allow us to develop Delta and its markets.

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Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Pierre!

Welcome to refinement!

How does your solution compete with the barrier properties of multi-layer sachets?

Would you elaborate more on the supply and delivery model for your solution? How will you get products to people before the packaging degrades/product goes stale?

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me by tagging me here (@ followed by my name) or send me an email - krushton@ideo.com

I just want to remind you that the deadline to complete the Refinement Questions via the online submission form is August 31 at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Photo of Pierre Paslier
Team

Hi Kate,

Thank you for your question. Our solution doesn’t have the same performance in terms of oxygen vapor barrier properties if you compare with a multi-layer sachet with an Internal PE layer, adhesive resin, aluminum film, a polyethylene lamination layer, carton, printing and an external PE layer. It is comparable to a fruit membrane as a grape or tomato. That means that the content won’t last as much in the Delta packaging as in a multi-layer sachet, however, the biodegradable time of Delta is much shorter than a multi-layer sachet. The challenge then is how to deliver package products in a shorter time on existing long supply chains.
Delta supply and delivery model are based on local manufacturing. We are currently developing a small Nespresso-type machine that will allow retailers to package in a Delta what ever product they want from a bulk container. So the idea is that retailers would have bulk material (easier to transport in big reusable containers) and would be able to package in individual portions whatever content at the point of sale for same-day consumption.

Photo of Radha
Team

Hi Pierre,

During transportation/delivery can Delta burst or leak due to being transported in big reusable containers?

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