Designing for the Future: Improving SARAYA Bottles in a Healthcare Setting
There is always room for improvement. In SARAYA’s push for sustainability, reducing the amount of plastic used in our bottles is something we are constantly working on. While on our consumer products we can aim towards reducing plastic use or using recycled plastics and bioplastics in combination with refills, products intended for healthcare have their own unique set of challenges and require a special approach. The reason lies in high hygiene standards that make it difficult to reuse products. Hand soap used in medical institutions is often consumed in its original container, disposing of it after its use to ensure infection prevention. This means that these bottles have a shorter lifecycle and create large amounts of waste, a problem that can’t be solved with a refill pack, unlike a customer who uses hand soap at home.
To reduce this huge amount of waste that a hospital may incur we have made 2 changes, starting with our Whip Wash Fragrance-Free and Shavonet UM P-5 1kg bottles. Together with a third change that allows a faster content confirmation, the new bottle design ensures not only better disposal, but an easier use.
A thinner bottle with less plastic
The first change consisted of reducing the amount of plastic used in each bottle, which posed a challenge due to the need of maintaining the integrity of the bottle shape. We originally tried reducing the weight of the bottle by about 20% of its original shape, thinning the used plastic, but this led to the bottle’s deformation with labels rubbing and peeling off inside their cardboard boxes during transportation. We settled on a 15% of reduction, where no deformation occurred, achieving thinness without compromising the product value.
|Whip Wash Fragrance-Free new bottle.||Shavonet UM P-5 new bottle.|
That 15% of the removed weight is about 10g per bottle. Based on our sales numbers during 2019 and 2020, we calculated that if we sell 350,000 1kg bottles of Whip Wash Fragrance-Free and Shavonet UM P-5, up to 3,5 tons of plastic will be reduced each year, cutting plastic waste in the healthcare sector.
Easier to fold body
The second change we wanted to implement was to find a way to reduce the volume of the bottle after its use. As mentioned before, in order to reduce or eliminate infections, waste created in medical institutions is cataloged as medical waste and dealt with by a stricter yet more expensive disposal procedure. If a hand soap bottle is used, it has to be disposed of and substituted with a new bottle.
The new Whip Wash and Shavonet designs allow a reduction of volume up to 65%.
A request we were frequently receiving was the need for foldable bottles that could be reduced in size after use, reducing transportation costs. Thanks to a series of “ribs” that act like hinges on all sides of the bottle, you can now easily fold and squeeze the bottle, reducing its volume by about 65% compared to its original size. With this reduction in space, we were able to achieve greater efficiency in waste disposal, reducing trips and transportations costs at the same time.
Confirming remaining amount at a glance
The third change, although intended more for ease of use rather than to reduce costs, still indirectly ensuring that every drop of soap is used. As a feature we already had in our Whipped Wash bottles, many of our clients requested that we also included a window stripe in the Shavonet UM P-5 bottle. Thanks to this transparent slit placed on the side of the bottle it is now easy for doctors and nurses to check how much liquid is left, which allows predicting when a bottle needs to be changed with just a quick glance.
A clear window on the side permits checking how much is left on the Whip Wash bottle.
The new bottles with these changes will be available for our clients in Japan in the following months. Always aiming for a sustainable future, we hope to share even more changes in the not distant tomorrow.
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