The landfills all around the world are oozing with waste. Moreover, this waste doesn’t just confine itself just to these landfills. In addition, you can discover the traces of it in every nook and corner. A great part of this waste consists of plastic packaging materials, which literally never decompose. Although many countries from around the world are banning plastic bags, however, a large part of it still stays in the form of packaging. Nevertheless, there are ways to tackle it. Eco-friendly solutions like dissolvable shaving pods are showing us how there is still a sustainable way out of this problem.
The latest word in packaging is the water-soluble single-use packaging. These are popular as one of the ingredients of 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 making claims to be perfect for one-time use, and thus reduce waste of the material as well as plastic containers. Edible dissolvable packaging is also under research, 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 was available in stores like Target, Publix, Bed Bath & Beyond, CVS as well as Amazon.
The outer cover is a flexible plastic pouch which you can ziplock. The pouch contains 40 pillows having the shape of a shaving cream pods which you can use only once. Before using them, however, 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 you use less water, 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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One can call this innovation 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 consists of plastic – and hopefully, responsible consumers will send it for recycling! 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 than 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 a soluble film?
The water-soluble films consist mainly of PVA, a polymer known as polyvinyl alcohol. It is not a new invention. In fact, Monosol has been using it for various industrial purposes since the 50s. Monosol uses this polymer PVA to make soluble drugs, which dissolve easily 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.
Safest for consumers
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 they do not leave the 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. You can easily compost them and they are free of chemicals. This dissolvable packaging is absolutely safe for environment too. However, these amazing dissolvable shampoo pods are in the early stages. There will be some time before they are commercially available.
Water-soluble personal care products 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.