I’m always trying to reduce the amount of plastic I throw away, and this new Kickstarter project’s clever solution, which uses soap to create a multi-purpose, zero-waste container, has me intrigued.
Project Soapbottle, which was initially conceived by Jonna Breitenhuber as part of a student design contest, is a new line of packaging that uses solid soap to create a natural and biodegradable container for holding the liquid soap inside. The end result is simple: Once you run out of liquid soap, you can simply use the container just like you would a traditional bar of solid soap, eventually washing away any trace of the packaging along with any unwanted dirt and grime.
While I admit the use of a soap to create packaging may be somewhat niche—after all, you wouldn’t really want to drink from soda bottles made out of soap, would you?)—Project Soapbottle is an innovative alternative to standard plastic bottles that can also make people think just a bit deeper about the way various products are packaged and shipped.
One interesting aspect of Project Soapbottle is that by taking advantage of the material, the container’s design means there’s no need to accommodate a traditional bottle cap or lid. Instead, to access to the liquid soap inside, you can simply take a knife and cut off a corner of the container.
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From there you can attach a re-usable metal clip to close the bottle when not in use, or hang it from a hook using a simple ribbon made from sustainable materials. The only element of Project Soapbottle that would ever get tossed in the trash is the small label that comes wrapped around the outside of the package, which is made of recycled paper and completely compostable.
However, what’s even more encouraging is that after coming up with the idea in 2019, Breitenhuber put together a four-person team (now based out of Amsterdam) to turn the concept into reality. Now Project Soapbottle is available on Kickstarter, with the project already having smashed its original funding goal of just $11,770 with two weeks left to go.
The one obvious downside, though, is cost. Compared to a regular bottle of soap, Project Soapbottle is a bit pricey—backers can purchase a set of three 100 ml Soapbottles along with three metal closures and three ribbons for around $52. For the same money, you can buy more than six 10-ounce bottles (295 ml) of liquid hand soap, six bars of solid soap, and still have $20 left over that you could use to buy a refillable soap dispenser.
The other small issue is that with each Soapbottle only holding 100 ml of soap (about 3.3 ounces), you’re bound to run out of liquid soap way faster than however long it takes to use up the solid soap that makes up its packaging, which seems a bit unbalanced. But hopefully, if Project Soapbottle is successful, the team can follow up this initial run with larger containers sporting more interior volume.
And once again, while Project Soapbottle doesn’t completely solve issues surrounding typical plastic containers, it seems like a novel approach to addressing the waste associated with a lot of common kitchen and bath products.
Project Soapbottle’s Kickstarter campaign is slated to run for another 16 days, with actual products expected to start shipping sometime in May 2022. The cheapest backing tier that comes with product starts at 44 euros (around $52). As always, the classic Kickstarter caveat applies: Simply backing a project doesn’t mean you are guaranteed a final product, regardless of the project hitting its funding goal or not.