Soapack Is Sustainable Beauty Packaging Reimagined

by Casha Doemland on 07/19/2019 | 2 Minute Read

Design students in material and packaging courses around the globe are at the forefront of developing sustainable substrates to replace plastic. Just last year, Chile-based designer Margarita Talep produced a plastic alternative for dry goods out of agar, while Emma Sicher formulated a substrate out of SCOBYs—you know, that funky stuff that helps brew your daily kombucha—that can also be used to manufacture single-use tableware, both of which are biodegradable, and leave no trace. 

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While these are both phenomenal discoveries and a step in the right direction, you might start got asking yourself what you could do about all those liquid products packaged in plastic. What's an alternative, outside of infinitely recyclable materials like glass or aluminum, that will similarily leave little to no trace behind? 

Now, thanks to Mi Zhou, a postgraduate at Central Sant Martins and her Materials Futures Program, there's another alternative.

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Introduced to the world last month at her school's degree show, Soapack is a sustainable take on toiletry bottles made entirely out of vegetable oil-based soap. The variations in color come from natural dying pigments found in minerals, plants, and flowers. From there, each bottle is formed in a mold and then coated with a thin layer of beeswax to waterproof them. 

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"Product packaging has always been thrown away, no matter how well-designed or what material it is made of," said Zhou. "I want to re-evaluate what packaging could be as well as help us to reduce our plastic footprint."

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Editorial photograph

Zhou did that and then some as she takes advantage of a plastic-free alternative that could serve a few purposes after it's used and still, at the end of the day, not harm the planet. You can either display the gorgeous, well-crafted bottles that resemble something one could find in a vintage shop or place them in a soap dish and use them to wash your hands until it all melts away. 

Either way, it's one more step to scrubbing out the persistence of single-use plastics.

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