Sustainable toiletries packaged in soap aim to eliminate single-use plastics

July 15, 2019 by  
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Single-use plastic may be the biggest issue of our time, but admittedly, it’s sometimes an uphill battle to find alternatives. But now, when it comes to finding sustainable toiletries, there’s a eco-friendly option. Already well-known for innovative and sustainable designs, Mi Zhou has just unveiled Soapack, a collection of sustainable shampoo packaging made out of soap. Personal care products often come in mass-produced plastic containers that have a fairly short lifespan, requiring multiple purchases throughout the year. From face lotions to hair gels and everything in between, we are constantly suffocating the planet with a shocking abundance of plastic waste , especially considering that the standard plastic bottle can take up to 450 years to break down . Related: The Refill Shoppe enforces zero-waste packaging, provides bulk refills for household and beauty products Thankfully, there is a new green option for shampoo users that not only helps reduce waste but adds a touch of sustainable luxury to your toiletries. Soapack is a collection of shampoo bottles that are cast from soap that melts away after they are completely used. Each Soapack bottle is made out of a vegetable oil-based soap that is dyed with mineral pigments, plants and flowers. Similar to the process of making ceramic containers, the mixture is poured into molds of various shapes. The bottles are then lined with a thin layer of beeswax to make them waterproof and prevent the liquid contents from completely dissolving when in contact with water. The best place to store the bottles is on a soap dish, so that they can slowly melt away without making a mess, eventually disappearing after use instead of leaving behind another discarded bottle in the trash . The design was inspired by antique perfume bottles — opaque shells with light pastel hues and delicate, shapely curves. Although they are designed to melt away, if kept dry, the sustainable soap bottles can even be used as a decorative feature. With the innovative packaging design , Zhou hopes to revolutionize the packaging industry for the good of the planet. “Product packaging has always been thrown away, no matter how well-designed or what material it is made of,” Zhou explained. “I want to re-evaluate what packaging could be as well as help us to reduce our plastic footprint.” + Mi Zhou Design Images via Mi Zhou

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Sustainable toiletries packaged in soap aim to eliminate single-use plastics

The Refill Shoppe enforces zero-waste packaging, provides bulk refill solutions for myriad household and beauty products

March 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

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With the nearly constant conversation about zero waste and minimization in general, single use packaging is a hot topic. For many consumables, customers don’t seem to have many options in avoiding packaging waste. Think about the liquid products in your home and you’ll know what we’re talking about here. Shampoo bottles, hand soap containers, dish soap, cleaners, bubble bath and massage oils are just a few commonly-used items that come to mind. One company has taken a stand against single-use packaging and now provides a refill service so you can use your favorite containers again and again…and again, without the waste of individual bottles. The Refill Shoppe opened their flagship store in Ventura, California in 2010 with the idea that customers should have a place to refill regularly-used products. Think of it as a bulk section for household liquids. The founder, Michelle Stevens admits that she wasn’t sure people would buy into the business model. After all, it was a relatively new idea in this era of convenient consumables. But it didn’t take long for people to find out about the business and begin frequenting the location. Related: Oregon initiates first modern statewide refillable glass bottle system in the US The idea took off and now the company offers an online, mail-order options so you can order refills from the comfort of your home, even if you don’t live near the store. The process is as simple as any other form of online shopping. After scouring the website, customers choose the products they want and select their favorite scents. Up to six scents can be combined for variety. If you don’t already have an adorable bottle that you’re looking to refill , you can choose one from the site. Otherwise, you order will be refill pouches filled with your favorite product. Whether you bring your own container into the store or request a mail order, all ingredients are charged by the ounce. In-store, you can even bring a partially-full bottle . You simply weigh it with the contents before adding more and then weigh it again to calculate the amount of product you’re buying. For mail order, all per-ounce prices are listed on the site. Shipping fees are a flat rate $7 or free for orders over $100 throughout the continental U.S. They also ship to Hawaii, Alaska, Canada and Mexico for an additional charge. The website offers hundreds of products you likely use daily. Bathing and beauty products include face wash, shampoo, scrubs, salts and lotions, but they also offer sponges, brushes and mitts to apply the products. For the home you can find dishwashing liquids, laundry products and even yoga mat sanitizer, alongside reusable containers and other zero-waste products. They also stock cleaning products and eco-friendly supplies like wool dryer balls and burlap gift wrap. They even have men’s care, perfume and baby products. The Refill Shoppe realizes that no business model is perfect for the environment but they focus on doing everything they can to operate with a low-carbon footprint . All refill pouches are reusable , so after you’ve emptied the contents into your favorite container at home, simply drop it back into the pre-paid envelope and send it back, where it is sterilized and refilled for the next customer. All packing materials are reused and they try to use paper products exclusively. For packaging glass bottles, however,  they do employ pre-used bubble wrap. Because transportation emissions are a major eco-no-no in general, the company relies on USPS in an effort to deliver using regular, already-traveled routes. This avoids sending trucks out on special routes that increase emissions . Another way the company reduces transportation issues is with domestic production. With the exception of Himalayan bath salts, all items are produced in the United States. Related: Some of the largest manufacturers are going green with the milkman model   In addition to reducing waste, the company aims to provide products that are eco-friendly , cruelty-free, mostly vegan (with the exception of honey and beeswax in a few products), mostly gluten free, although items are manufactured in a facility that handles gluten, 99.7 percent GMO free, and proudly void of a host of toxins commonly used in other cleaners and beauty products. For their efforts, The Refill Shoppe has passed the qualifications to become a Certified B Corporation. This stamp of approval means they’ve passed rigorous standards of environmental and social responsibility up and down the supply and customer chain. In fact, the company has been recognized with awards and accolades by many notable agencies such as the Ventura County Reporter, Ventura County Board of Supervisors, California Air Resources Board, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and the California Resource Recovery Association. In a country a long way from leading the planet in sustainable practices, companies like The Refill Shoppe not only offer an alternative for those aiming to live more sustainably, but also bring awareness to an industry currently guilty of significant plastic waste . + The Refill Shoppe Images via The Refill Shoppe

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The Refill Shoppe enforces zero-waste packaging, provides bulk refill solutions for myriad household and beauty products

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