Elegant zero-waste bottles made from soap
The beauty industry generates a lot of plastic waste. Shampoo, lotion, deodorant: cosmetic and toiletry products all come swathed in plastic. They are many items that are choking our oceans and piling up on landfills. In fact, around 552 million shampoo bottles are thrown away every year, and only 1 in 5 people consistently recycle items from their bathroom. Thankfully, many eco-conscious product designers are working on developing new zero-waste bottles and packaging alternatives to help reduce our plastic footprint.
One of those designers fighting against plastic waste is Mi Zhou, a student at the Central Saint Martins Material Futures master’s degree program. She’s cleverly created zero-waste bottles and jars made of soap called Soapack.
Developing the zero-waste Soapack collection
The $500 billion per year global personal care industry relies heavily on plastic. Shampoo bottles are often fully or partly unrecyclable. The same thing with body wash. Mi’s Soapack collection is created from vegetable oil-based soap that melts away once they are no longer needed — including the paper instructions, which dissolve in water. Using a thin layer of beeswax to line the bottles, they’re made waterproof to prevent the liquid contents from leaking. According to Mi, the collection is designed to “invite the user to use it or even deconstruct it and make it eventually disappear.”
The sustainable product is not only a smart, zero-waste solution to plastic packaging, but Soapack also looks stylish and sophisticated; It features delicate stoppers and glass-like patterns and each translucent bottle is based on the shapes of classic perfume bottles.
“I found that compared to shampoo bottles, we are more likely to keep perfume bottles which mostly are made of glass and look gorgeous. Even if the perfume is used up, we keep the bottles since they are too beautiful to be discarded.”
The elegant shapes of the containers have been dyed using pigments from minerals, plants, and flowers, resulting in soft shades of pretty pastel gradients. Mi hopes her zero-waste solution will revolutionize the packaging industry for the good of the planet and help consumers rethink how they buy their beauty products.
“We are living in a period of transition where we are encouraged to act ‘sustainably,’ in situations where there are few successful options provided,” she says. “We need to encourage people to use alternatives to respect our environment better [without] compromising in user experience.”