How can we create a system that helps consumers more easily reuse and refill their liquid product containers?

We are throwing away an ever-increasing amount of waste, of which a large proportion is packaging. Inspired by research at landfills, carbon-zero developments, eco-activist meetings, in normal consumers’ homes, and by the challenge of reducing this unsustainable waste of resources, the Replenish pre-cycling system and set of products was designed to make reusing and refilling containers economical for the manufacturers and convenient for the consumer. Considering all of the product stakeholders—producers, distributors and consumers—iterative prototypes of various technologies, designs and experiences led to a system of packageless concentrated soap pearls that were economical for the manufacturer and the online delivery infrastructure that was convenient for the consumers. Soap refill pearls purchased with the customer’s normal online supermarket shopping are dispensed directly into their permanent reusable containers by the supermarket delivery staff in the customers’ home. The pearls of concentrated detergents are contained a dissolvable film coating until the user dispenses or dilutes them as required, making packaging waste a thing of the past.

METHODS: user research, concept design, 3D design, rough prototyping, system design

TECHNOLOGIES: CAD (Solidworks), 3D printing, molding & casting

Dispensing soap refill pearls into the reusable handwash container
The family of Replenish permanent reusable containers
The specially designed containers turn the concentrated pearls into usable liquid soap

The Replenish Pre-cycling System

Research at landfills and recycling centers to understand the problems behind the current waste system
The original system concept aiming
to remove the packaging ‘middle man’
by bringing the supermarket and consumers home closer through the online shopping infrastructure
Prototypes of the dispensing mechanisms and forms of the permanent packaging for the concentrated soap pearls

An Industrial Design Engineering Masters project, Royal College of Art (2008-09)