REFILLING vs RECYCLING


⁣What is better refilling or recycling?⁣

You might think: Since when do we compare refilling with recycling? Splosh, a British brand for household cleaning products can give us a concrete answer to this question. The brand built a new business model based on the circular economy principles.⁣


⁣REFILL, REUSE AND UPCYCLE⁣

Angus Grahame, the founder of Splosh, started off with the idea that there must be an opportunity to sell cleaning products outside supermarkets using a ‘one-time sale model. He looked into how these could be sold online but the standard size and weight of the products made this difficult. He then began to ask how products could be completely redesigned for a new e-commerce business model.⁣

With Splosh, instead of buying new bottles filled with the product weekly, customers purchase a one-off ‘starter box’, containing a range of simply designed bottles. Inside each bottle is a sachet of concentrated liquid; customers just add warm tap water to create cleaning products. These bottles can be used repeatedly, with refill sachets delivered in boxes through the post.
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If a bottle is reused 20 times, it means 95% less packaging waste * and customers are also welcome to return damaged bottles to Splosh to upcycled into a new product.  ⁣

Let’s dive into details and reflect how re-thinking business models can influence design.⁣

A CIRCULAR BUSINESS MODEL⁣

Splosh launch required a complete redesign of household cleaning products. Here some of their challenges and solutions:⁣
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1/ Sachet Formula: the brand create a completely new, concentrated form of cleaning fluids and the main challenge was to find chemists with suitable expertise;⁣
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2/ External Packaging: Packages left on doorsteps or returned to sender would be inconvenient, the solution was to make something durable that could fit in a UK standard letterbox;
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3/ Liquid Content: Used liquids can safely be returned to the biological cycle

The new relationship with the customer, for example, opens up a direct marketing channel, a valuable way of communicating with users. In the end, what is best for the planet is also best for businesses!

*source: @ellenmacarthurfoundation
**photo credit: Splosh

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