Dissolving tabs could banish plastic bottles from our cupboards

Could these dissolving tabs banish plastic bottles from our cupboards? They can hold everything from soap to fabric softener – just add water!

  • Squares could ‘end the plastic crisis for ever’, according to Procter & Gamble 
  • The new concept, DS3, transforms into a detergent when water is added
  • Other cleaning and grooming products in the range include hand wash 

A small tab the size of a teabag which could spell the end of the shampoo bottle has been created by a leading cosmetics company.

The squares could ‘end the plastic crisis for ever’, according to Procter & Gamble, the giant behind brands such as Ariel and Pantene.

The new concept, DS3, allows consumers to select a little white ‘swatch’ which then, as if by magic, transforms into a detergent when water is added.

To wash your hair with one of the products, you take one of the square pieces of material (pictured) and lather it up with water instead of relying on a plastic bottle of shampoo or conditioner

The pads (pictured) are mostly single use and dissolve when added to water. They have been created using a manufacturing process patented by P&G, which has spent a decade dreaming up the idea with experts

Samples of the products have already been shipped to a small number of buyers in the US. For a box of 120 tabs for personal care – a selection of shampoo (pictured), conditioner, face wash and shower gel – the test price was $29 (£22) 

To wash your hair with one of the products, you take one of the square pieces of material and lather it up with water instead of relying on a plastic bottle of shampoo or conditioner.

The pads are mostly single use and dissolve when added to water. They have been created using a manufacturing process patented by P&G, which has spent a decade dreaming up the idea with experts.

Different types of detergent carry pictures to show their intended use. For example, shampoo has a picture of a person’s hair and laundry detergent shows a drawing of a shirt, while toilet cleaner depicts a lavatory.

The idea behind the concept is to dramatically reduce plastic waste and lessen the impact that cleaning products have on the environment.

Samples of the products have already been shipped to a small number of buyers in the US. For a box of 120 tabs for personal care – a selection of shampoo, conditioner, face wash and shower gel – the test price was $29 (£22).

Different types of detergent carry pictures to show their intended use. For example, shampoo has a picture of a person’s hair and laundry detergent shows a drawing of a shirt, while toilet cleaner depicts a lavatory

Other cleaning and grooming products in the range include hand wash, lavatory cleaner, laundry detergent, surface cleaner and shower gel. For the surface cleaner, one pod mixed into a bottle of water should last for weeks.

They come in a variety of scents, from pineapple to mint and sandalwood. Because the swatches contain no water, their production removes 80 per cent of the weight generated by traditional cleaning products and 75 per cent of emissions, according to Kathy Fish, chief research, development and innovation officer at P&G.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Mrs Fish said: ‘This technology could transform many product categories. One liquid-free swatch works better than water-based cleaning products.’

She added that in the US ‘wide use of this technology could help reduce one million plastic bottles a year. It could also cut 12million pounds of carbon dioxide produced by 100,000 trucks and the 800million gallons of water required to make, ship and use everyday household and personal care products.’

The pods are also much lighter and cheaper to ship than normal household cleaning products.

Because the swatches contain no water, their production removes 80 per cent of the weight generated by traditional cleaning products and 75 per cent of emissions, according to Kathy Fish, chief research, development and innovation officer at P&G

And they are made of all-natural ingredients, are preservative free, and come in bamboo boxes. Mrs Fish added: ‘From a resource scarcity point of view it is really a breakthrough. There’s no plastic here, these are bamboo containers, they are totally plastic-free. Consumers want more natural products.’

The concept comes after the Daily Mail’s Turn The Tide On Plastic campaign.

Readers have visited beaches and parks as part of a major clean-up operation, and the Government has announced a bottle deposit return scheme which will be introduced in England by 2023, as well as a ban on plastic straws and cotton earbuds.

P&G could one day use its new technique to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic used in goods found in homes across Britain.

So far, the line has been sold to just over 400 US customers on Indiegogo, a website which tests new products through crowdfunding, before a wider launch.

Eco-friendly cosmetics chain Lush launches its first packaging-free shop 

By Sarah Rainey and Jake Hurfurt for the Daily Mail 

Eco-friendly cosmetics company Lush is launching its first ever packaging-free shop.

As part of the war on waste plastic, it will open a ‘naked’ store, where nothing at all is sold in any kind of packaging, on Market Street in Manchester today.

As part of the war on waste plastic, Lush will open a ‘naked’ store, where nothing at all is sold in any kind of packaging (pictured)

It is part of the retailer’s campaign against plastic, particularly single-use plastic which – as the Daily Mail has highlighted in its Turn The Tide On Plastic campaign – is clogging up waterways and destroying wildlife habitats.

Lush co-founder Mark Constantine said: ‘For too long we have had to suffer excessive amounts of packaging. The financial and environmental costs are obvious.’

Turning gels and liquids into solids is the secret to selling the toiletries without plastic. The result is an array of rainbow-hued cosmetics that look like bars of soap but are anything from solid shampoo and conditioner to face serums. Lush says one shampoo bar lasts for around 100 uses. 

Product inventor Alessandro Commisso said: ‘We have taken the ingredients of our shower gels, for example, and turned them into solid bars by removing the water and adding stearate, a fine white powder which thickens and hardens liquids.’

To make up for the lack of packaging, all the label information for each product is stored on a free app, called Lush Labs

Solid products need to be activated in different ways from traditional toiletries. Mr Commisso said: ‘For instance, massage bars, facial balms and cleansers work with body heat. Other products need to be activated with water, like our shampoo bars. As soon as you rub them into wet hair, they’ll foam up like bottled shampoo.’ 

To make up for the lack of packaging, all the label information for each product is stored on a free app, called Lush Labs.

Shoppers can use their own containers to take purchases home, or the shop provides paper bags, metal soap boxes or trays made from recycled coffee pots.

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