1 TRILLION HARD-TO-RECYCLE SACHETS A YEAR, AND RISING
In lower-income countries, consumer goods companies sell liquid products like shampoo and detergent in small plastic sachets to make them more affordable
It’s big business: about 1 trillion sachets are made every year
Analysts project this will approach 2 trillion in 10 years
Sachets are almost impossible to recycle
The best available end-of-life option is incineration, but most go to landfill or enter waterways
A PRIMARY SOURCE OF OCEAN MICROPLASTIC
Scientists estimate that eight rivers in Asia are among the top ten sources of plastics pollution in the world’s oceans > Source
More than 8 million tonnes of plastic leak into the oceans every year
Over 80% of this is from land-based sources of discarded plastic that has been improperly managed or leaks into the oceans > Source
Sachets are believed to be the primary cause of this pollution
WE’RE WORKING IN INDIA
TO TEST AN ALTERNATIVE
In 2021, we devised a (possible) alternative to sachets
Feasibility studies are complete and pilot operations are set to start in November 2022
We are working with innovative Indian companies and NGOs to bring our vision to life
CARPE is an Indian charity focused on delivering sustainable and inclusive cities, towns, and villages through civic engagement and outreach
It is supported by EcoSattva, a social enterprise headquartered in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India that leverages partnerships to deliver services and solutions in solid waste management, green cover management and water body restoration
SUPPORT OUR WORK WITH CHARITIES – GET A REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLE
Get your own beautiful, stainless-steel water bottle
Durable and reusable
All proceeds go to support our work with charities in India
HELP OUR INDIAPROJECT BY DOINGYOUR OWN REFILLS
(You save money, prevent plastic waste and 10% of all revenues goes to our India project)
In 2021, we devised a (possible) alternative to sachets
Buy your refills here and 10% of every penny spent goes to our India project
You also save money and help stop plastic waste
It’s easy too! Read more
We’re preventing single use plastic in different ways
Join us and be part of the change
FROM OUR BLOG
Our new new stainless-steel laundry ‘Bottle for Life’ got some press coverage recently!
All the pieces mention how refilling at home can help consumers prevent a substantial amount of plastic waste. A typical household purchases roughly one plastic laundry detergent bottles each month, creating 12 bottles of plastic waste each and every year. By using the stainless-steel ‘Bottle for Life’ and refilling from home, consumers can prevent this.more...
Our pilot has been going six months, the headline news is that our refill alternative to sachets is working.
We’ve been testing three ways to distribute bulk product and have faced teething problems with all three, but for the most part things have gone extraordinarily well. The solution works well in urban and rural villages and seems especially well suited to low-income household.
After receiving a small free sample, consumers pay the same unit price point as the market leading sachet (Clinic Plus), and bulk distributors purchase from us.more...
Refill With LESS is the latest addition to LESS's portfolio. It's an e-commerce site that offers customers the chance to buy stylish non-plastic bottles (glass, stainless-steel) to use time and time again, avoiding the need to keep buying single-use plastic bottles. It also sells the liquid to refill the bottles, from several brands across a range of personal and household care categories. If you're looking to move away from plastic, take a look how we can help you do that, and save you money at the same time.
It's available nationally, with free shipping for orders over £50.more...
These last few weeks we’ve finally launched our refill-reuse pilot at select kirana stores in and around Aurangabad.
We faced numerous uncertainties – would stores cooperate? Would women even want to try an unknown shampoo brand? If they tried, would they come back for refills, and do so reliably?
The only way to find out was to launch and see what happensmore...
In case you've ever wondered, clearing up old plastic waste from a riverbed is a really shit job.
Not that it isn't important. It's necessary, and about the only way to get heavily polluted rivers back to health. Never fully remediated and pristine, because this stuff endures decades and centuries, but functional and healthier.
But actually doing the work is no picnic. It’s slow, continually bending over or crouching down to pull plastic from the soil to put the waste into a large (plastic) sack. And it can smell really bad too.more...
We were well aware of the polluting effects of plastic sachets but through our consumer research we found another consequence, they clog drains. Not just in the home, where they can cause showers to block up but more broadly in the neighbourhood where they can cause drains to overflow and roads to flood. In monsoon season the problem can be particularly acute.
Votes are in and our first product will be called माझा शॅम्पू (My Shampoo). If only I could say it! I really need to brush up on my Marathi to get the pronunciation right…
Next we need a logo. We want something that conveys quality, assurance and trust. And we want the logo to be something the consumers will be proud to have permanently in their bathrooms.
We had three options, all very different…more...
We worked with a design and branding company in India to explore branding and naming strategies. It was a useful exercise
Nothing is yet settled, but we’re leaning towards a name that reflects the collaborative and communitarian approach we’ve taken.more...
Plastic waste is a problem here in the UK but it's a far bigger problem in many Asian countries where product is often sold in small plastic sachets that can't be recycled. Instead, these sachets commonly get washed away and escape to waterways and are a primary contributor to ocean microplastic. And along the way they clog drains and cause flooding, creating unsanitary conditions.
For about a year we've been working with a NGO and partner in India on a refill-reuse idea for low-income consumers. Much of the work requires developing a system to enable a reuse system, but a large component centres on consumer outreach and education.more...
Riyō is a range of sophisticated natural and organic beauty products.
Hand wash, hand moisturiser and body lotion come in beautiful amber glass bottles; shower products (body wash, shampoo and conditioner) in matte black stainless steel, all with elegant matte black stainless steel push pumps.
Specially developed here in the UK with botanically driven formulations, Riyō uses only the finest natural and organic ingredients, all without animal testing.more...
Silvertown, a premium brand made in the UK from high quality ingredients and presented in UK-made elegant glass bottles with a stylish stainless-steel push pump, is now available on RefillwithLESS.
The Silvertown brand offers gorgeous fragrances selected by professional perfumers. Hand soap comes in White Rose & Rhubarb and Tuscan Orange & Bergamot, and there is a Fresh Apple Hand Sanitiser too.more...
Our project is about demonstrating an alternative to the plastic sachet so that shampoo and other products can be sold without generating enormous amounts of plastic waste. We had hoped to work with some big brands, or any brand come to that, already selling shampoo in sachets, but we couldn't get any takers. The most encouraging response we got amounted to ‘Come back to us when you've proved that it works’!
So we had to create our own shampoo brand. An essential element of this is, of course, the shampoo itself.more...
Billions of sachets are used every day, but it turns out consumers really don't like them. We conducted a range of surveys with different groups of low-income women consumers in India, the primary buyers of shampoo in sachets but a group rarely, if ever, listened to.
Through a series of group sessions and one-on-one interviews, we explored many aspects of their interaction with sachets – why they use them, where they buy them, what they think of them, what they dislike most about them, and so on.more...
In recent weeks we've been conducting a range of tests to find out what consumers think about sachets and how using them compares to using the small plastic bottles we plan to use as part of our refill solution.
It's not even close. We were anticipating some reluctance in moving from familiar habits, but it seems using a bottle is simply a way superior experience. And for many consumers it’s a novel one too, since purchasing a shampoo in bottles is too expensive - for many people in the survey it was the first time they'd used shampoo this way.more...
A critical element in our refill solution is the (ideally enthusiastic) participation of kirana store owners. By some estimates there are about 15 million of these stores across India, most run by an individual or family.
Very roughly, there’s a kirana store for every 100-300 people, so it's rare to go far without seeing one.
The stores are remarkably space efficient, making sure to use every square inch to display or store product. Even in a very limited area you'll find a wide range of products across numerous categories.more...
As part of our effort to create our own shampoo brand, we undertook a range of testing with consumers in our target market.
In addition to interviews to learn how often they use shampoo, what they think about sachets, what factors weigh on their decisions etc., we also handed out a range of samples for them to test at home in bottles.
Here are some photos of testers at a municipal waste recycling facility receiving their samples…more...