This Brilliant Packaging Alternative Could Reduce Global Emissions

From creams to laundry detergent, most of our household products contain more than 80% water. Across billions of units, shipped around the world, that adds up to a huge amount of extra weight, which means more packaging wasted, more fuel needed, and more pollution produced.

What if that water is left out and added later? It would save a lot of unnecessary transport, CO2 emissions and packaging.

That’s the idea behind the designer Mirjam de Bruijn’s project Twenty, a concept for packaging where these products are sold in solid form. Because being more sustainable doesn’t have to be difficult.

Once you’ve bought your shampoo pellets, you simply put them in a reusable bottle, add water, and give it all a good mix.

The concept is de Bruijn’s thesis for the Design Academy Eindhoven, and if it were to be widely adopted, she estimates the average plastic packaging per person in the Netherlands would reduce significantly.

But the savings aren’t just in packaging materials. Many household products are transported around the world, so the reduced weight of the physical soap tablets as compared to big bottles of shampoo and soaps could save a lot of money–and emissions–on shipping costs. Shipping accounts for 90% of all global transport of goods, and up to 4% of total emissions, according to GreenBiz.

You can see the same premise at work with laundry detergent that comes in solid form, which is what inspired de Bruijn to research what other liquid household products could be distilled similarly. She designed a brand and packaging based on the conceptual element of the chemical concentrates.

All of her packaging is made of materials that can be recycled, like cardboard, as well as reusable plastic bottles.

“By raising awareness I hope to activate consumers in such a way that one day the concept of Twenty will become a standard for household goods,” de Bruijn says. It’s a clever, simple way to reduce packaging, reduce costs, and save on emissions. Any company serious about sustainability, or just willing to cut costs, should start embracing de Bruijn’s idea.