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The Plastic Waste Problem

The one thing that we come across 100s of times throughout our day is Plastic. It is something which has imbibed so well in our regular life that we hardly realize its presence. Thus introducing packageless products becomes a tough action to take.

In the past six decades, we have created 6.3 Billion Metric Tons of plastic waste, of which only 9% has been recycled. The plastic that is not recycled will take on average 400 years to get degraded naturally. This makes removing it from the environment nearly impossible looking at the current state at which we are using plastic. Also if the present trend continues, there will be 12 Billion Metric Ton of plastics waste in the environment by the year 2050.

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A study aimed at analyzing the use of plastic in different areas found out that in the year 2013-14 packaging contributed to 35% of the plastic waste. Experts estimate the figure to be close 50% for the year 2016-2017. One of the major contributors to plastic waste is the consumer goods industry. Adidas has taken a pledge in using the ocean plastics in making shoes. Thus making some use of all the available waste that harms the environment.

Sustainable Trend in Packaging

With respect to sustainable trends in the consumer goods industry, there has been visible development. As people become aware of their lifestyle and environmental footprint, brands begin to take end to end responsibility for their production habits. Let us take a look at two of the amazing initiatives.

Packageless Cosmetics by LUSH Cosmetics

LUSH cosmetics have come up with a unique concept of packageless cosmetics. The company focuses to serve the consumers as well as the planet by introducing a wide range of packageless cosmetics products. Their product range includes shampoo, Conditioner, Bath Oil, Shower Gels, Body Conditioners, Shower Scrubs, Fragrances, Bodycare and much more.

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According to ATTN, 552 million shampoo bottles could be replaced with these shampoo bars every year. Furthermore, each of these LUSH shampoo bars serves over 80 washes equivalent to 3 regular medium-sized shampoo bottles.

Over half of LUSH products are packageless which LUSH calls them as naked. These packageless products ensure zero wastage and at the same time provide an environment-friendly alternative.

Packageless Water – The Edible Blob

Plastic water bottles are a major contributor to plastic waste. The packageless water edible blob is another great example. In the light of creating a zero-waste alternative to plastic bottles and cups, London-based Skipping Rocks Labs developed the Ooho, the edible water bottle. Further, this bottle is 100% biodegradable and waste-free.

packageless drinking water
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While there has been an interesting shift within the CPG industry towards ditching plastic for packaging, every brand is trying in its own way to attract the customer by showing their concern towards the environment. Although the concept of packageless products is mesmerizing the consumers but it has its own challenges.

Challenges with Packageless Products

The biggest challenge with packageless products lies with the concept itself. To mention some:

  • How to inform the consumers of what they are purchasing?
  • What about communicating your brand?
  • How to label information?
  • What about precautions and guidelines?

Currently LUSH is able to overcome this barrier because there are not many players in the market with packageless products. And the consumer is getting all the needed product information from their website and Facebook page. But, if this concept gains traction, for how long will they be able to survive by pushing the user to their website for all the details? This again is a difficult question for the brand to answer right now.

While this is a great idea the movement towards zero wastage packageless products will require consumers, manufacturers, brands and the packaging industry to work together and think creatively out of the box to make the concept a success.

Anmol Sharma