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Project Soapbottle: This plastic-free body wash comes in a bottle made of soap

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our outlook towards health and hygiene. More and more people are now dedicating attention to hygiene in an effort to live healthier lives. However, in the process, many of us are forgetting the impact our choices can have on the environment. For most of us, it might not matter much where our soap or its raw materials comes from or if its packaging is made from eco-friendly materials. However, these factors can make a huge difference when we consider their contribution to ecological concerns like plastic pollution. What’s worse is that a massive portion of manmade plastic finds its way to oceans, clogging ocean beds and proving to be hazardous for aquatic life.

Soapbottle, Image credit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/soapbottle/s-o-a-p-b-o-t-t-l-e

According to a report, unless industries amend their ways there’s likely to be more plastic waste than fish in oceans by 2050. Given the seriousness of this impact, one is forced to think about how a simple bottle of shower gel or a soap bar with plastic packaging can impact the environment. Most personal care items are packaged using plastic materials, that are not always recyclable. The $500-billion per year global personal care industry relies heavily on plastic when it comes to taking their product to the consumer.

These figures underscore how manufacturing responsibly sourced personal care products with sustainable packaging are the need of the hour. Project Soapbottle aims to reduce the hazardous effect of plastic packaging on the environment with a range of personal care products that are packed in bottles made of soap itself. Interesting, isn’t it? Once you are done using the product inside the bottle, you can use the bottle itself as a soap.

The unique range is the brainchild of Netherlands-based product designer Jonna Breitenhuber. She first thought about creating a personal care range with eco-friendly packaging while pursuing a master’s degree in product design at the University of Arts in Berlin. While pursuing her degree, Jonna was also working as a packaging designer and was not very fond of the way how most of the packaging was discarded and would end up in landfills.

During her research, she found that while there were several packaging-free and eco-friendly beauty and personal care products, but there were hardly any options for liquid-based products like shampoos, soaps and shower gels. That’s when the penny dropped and she set out to design a packaging solution that wouldn’t hamper the environment and started working on Project Soapbottle.

As part of her research, she visited several workshops to learn about the nuances of how soap is made. Jonna also visited countries like Morocco and Spain to draw inspiration from traditional techniques of soap-making and how raw materials were sourced from items like lime in ancient times.

The packaging of Soapbottle products is made of soap. So, once you run out of the liquid-based product, the container can be used as a bar of hand soap. You can hang the soap bar using a ribbon that passes through the hole at the corner of the bottle. The hanging soap makes it easy to use it with wet hands as you don’t have to open anything. These products are biodegradable, made of natural ingredients and, are cruelty-free and plastic-free. Jonna and her team have rolled out a 100ml bottle of body wash and plan to add more products in the near future. The Project Soapbottle team has also started a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise more funds for the product range.

These plastic-free bottles have been designed to make them easy to use. When you get the product delivered, you can start by opening the bottle by cutting the marked corner and then hang it with

 a ribbon or place it on a sponge. Pour the liquid into your hands and start using it. Once done, you can close the bottle by putting the metal clip back in place. Once the bottle is empty, one can use the 100ml bottle as a bar of hand soap.

Project Soapbottle products were designed after the team made multiple iterations and tested several combinations of raw materials, before finalising the ingredients. The soap used in packaging is made using oils, natural ingredients and caustic soda. The metal clip is made of stainless steel and is reusable. You can always use the clip with the next Soapbottle product you use. Lastly, the label that is wrapped around the bottle is made of recycled paper and printed with eco-friendly ink.

These products will be available in three variants: spicy orange, evergreen, and light blue. The EverGreen variant is meant for those who prefer herbal options. With a soothing scent and calming effect, the green-colored plastic-free soap bottle is also a sight for tired eyes. The Spicy Orange, on the other hand, is for those who like stronger scents and are fond of heavy and musky profiles. The earthy-toned design can be a great fit for your bathroom. Lastly, the Light Blue variant is the right choice for you, if you don’t want anything that’s too overwhelming for your senses. With its neutral and light scents, it is likely to win you over if you are a fan of minimalist designs.

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