Today’s Solutions: September 29, 2022

Considering that less than 5 percent of plastic gets recycled, a number of major brands are experimenting with new models for reusable packaging. To cut the plastic waste that comes with liquid hand soap bottles, a Stockholm-based company called Forgo is taking a clever new approach by sending customers soap through the mail in a small envelope.

If you tear open the paper sachet inside, pour the powder inside into a reusable bottle, add tap water, and shake, you’ll have foaming hand wash in less than a minute. Of course, soap bars already exist, which don’t require a bottle. But Forgo recognizes that soap bars are shrinking part of the hygiene market, with liquid soap accounting for more than 70 percent of sales.

To make the soap, the designers worked with chemists to create a simple formula for a powder that could be mixed with hot water to make liquid soap; their reusable bottles turn the soap into foaming hand wash.

It takes only 12 grams of powder to fill a 250-millimeter bottle—an illustration of the fact that products of this type mostly contain water, meaning that most of the carbon footprint of shipping them comes from shipping water that could have come from someone’s tap.

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