The latest word in packaging is the water soluble single use packaging. These have been successfully used as detergents, where you just have to put them in along with the washing. Now this water soluble packaging has been used for the first time in the personal care industry, as dissolvable shaving pods. They are claimed to be perfect for one time use, and thus reduce waste of the material as well as plastic containers. Edible dissolvable packaging is being researched too, which would mean that you can eat the packaging along with the food inside.
Dissolvable shaving pods from Pacific Shaving company
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Pacific Shaving is the world’s first company to use dissolvable packaging technology for cosmetics commercially. The product, dissolvable shaving pods, was launched in April 2017. It is called ‘Single Use Shaving Cream Minis’ and sold in stores like Target, Publix, Bed Bath & Beyond, CVS as well as Amazon.
The outer cover is a flexible plastic pouch which can be zip locked. The pouch contains 40 pillow shaped shaving cream pods which can be used once only. Before using them, you have to wet them and rub them with some force, which makes the transparent sheath dissolve. You get a nice lather with smells of spearmint.
How to use shaving pods
As an end user, you have to use the pods two or three times to know the exact amount of water and time you have to expose the pods to. If you use too much water, the pods become too diluted. If less water is used, then you are left with chunks of shaving cream on your hand. The ideal time to wet the pod is 3-4 seconds, and then you have to rub the pod vigorously to get the lather. When you take the pod out of the pouch, you must have dry hands or else you might risk dissolving the other pods.
Are the dissolvable pods eco friendly?
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The innovation can be termed eco friendly in that you’re not left with empty plastic containers after you finish the product. But you do have to dispose of the outer pouch covering which is made from plastic – and hopefully responsible consumers will send it to be recycled! Though the company does not indulge in greenwashing, still it terms the pods as ‘no waste’. The plastic pouch is not mentioned as being ‘no waste’, which we do find a little ambiguous! The product would be much more appreciated if the outer pouch was biodegradable too.
According to experts, the shaving pods are at best ‘environmentally neutral’, which is more that what can be said of most products today.
The story behind
Stan Ades, the founder of the Pacific Shaving Company came up with this brilliant idea. He took his concept to the Japanese company Monosol, which is the main manufacturer of dissolvable packaging in the world. Monosol makes water-soluble, transparent films for household use and cleaning industry. The soluble shaving pods took a year to be developed.
What exactly is the soluble film?
The water soluble films are made from PVA, a polymer known as polyvinyl alcohol. It is not a new invention but has been used by Monosol for various industrial purposes since the 50s. Monosol uses this polymer PVA to make soluble drugs, which gets dissolved within the body.
To develop the dissolvable shaving pods, Monosol used the technology of its Vivos films. The Vivos technology creates individual sachets, pouches and delivery systems which disappear on coming into contact with cold or hot water/liquids/body fluids. The films are odorless, tasteless, and transparent and made from food grade components.
For consumers on the lookout for products which are not cancer causing, the dissolvable shaving pods would be the perfect solution. The PVA film has the safest rating (1) from EWG. The European Food Safety Association also has deemed the PVA film safe for edible purposes, which means it is safe enough to be applied on the body as well.
After there were reports of the colorful, candy like pods being ingested by small children as well as by patients suffering from dementia, Monosol worked with various companies to come up with ‘bittering agent’ to make the films taste bad and add strength to it.
One of the challenges faced during the manufacture of the dissolvable shaving pods, was to ensure that they remained intact throughout the supply chain till it reached the consumer. The other challenge was to make the pods dissolve as soon as possible, once it came into contact with water.
Monosol helps its customers like Pacific Shaving to upgrade their films and use them for specific purposes. They send their technicians and help with the technology to come up with brilliant ideas like the dissolvable shaving pods. The Vivos films (which are degradable too) can be scaled up to fit the use of the customer.
What’s next from Monosol
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Monosol is working on providing dissolvable packaging solutions, such as the dissolvable shaving pods, for shampoos, body wash and conditioners, for hotels. They are exploring methods to deliver the three products in a way that three separate empty containers are not left behind. This would definitely reduce plastic waste and be a great eco friendly solution.
Another innovation on the line from Monosol, is developing edible dissolvable packaging for coffee, hot chocolate, drink sticks as well as oatmeal. This would also be single use but without the ills of single use packaging, as the consumer would eat the packaging as the food.
Amazing dissolvable shampoo pods by Nohbo
The Nohbo balls are another innovation which seems set to make a dent in the personal care sector. These pods are eco friendly and plant based in nature. They are the greenest packaging solution for soap and shampoo available now, as they can be composted and are free of chemicals. This dissolvable packaging is absolutely safe for environment too. However, these amazing dissolvable shampoo pods are in the early stages and it will be some time before they are commercially available.
Water soluble personal care product like this shaving pod seems to be the next big disruption in the personal care industry, and it seems poised to impact the food industry too.