Manufacturer Unilever has announced that it will invest €100,000 (£89,000) in a new plastic-free laundry tablet, with the potential to replace single-use sachets of laundry powder.
The idea was one of 10 new solutions to come from Unilever’s “Rethink Plastic” Hackathon, a one-day event that brought together Unilever teams with leading designers, innovators, venture capital and packaging experts.
This event was hosted in partnership with One Young World and A Plastic Planet.
The laundry tablet concept won the event, with the aim to replace the billions of single-use laundry sachets sold annually to provide a solution for low-income consumers, said Unilever.
Residing in an affordable plant-derived coating, the innovation protects each tablet against humidity, one of the main reasons for using plastic packaging initially.
The tablet will be further developed before being trialled in the market.
Unilever home care president Kees Kruythoff, said: “The scale of the plastic waste issue is getting worse, not better, with the production of plastics expected to double over the next decade. Addressing this issue is the shared responsibility of all stakeholders in the value chain. However, as a major player in the consumer goods industry, we are aware that our response is critical in setting the pace of change.
“This hackathon is part of our broader work with leading experts and innovators to redesign our packaging and work with the wider industry to accelerate the systemic change that is so urgently needed.”
All the innovations from the event were open-source to improve potential market opportunities and help scale the impact.
Other solutions from the event include: a detergent subscription model using attractive ceramic or glass bottles and ‘laundry on a roll’, dissolvable sheets of fabric detergent that are environmentally friendly.
This investment is part of efforts taken by Unilever to reduce its plastic footprint globally. The company is also a signatory of the UK Plastics Pact.