Upside down changes everything™
"Replenish is about being smarter with what we buy and how we use it."
Former equity researcher, Jason Foster, was pouring water into his iron when he began thinking about how much water is in household cleaning solutions. After some research, Foster discovered most cleaning solutions were 90% water and only 10% ingredients. He also learned that recycling today is not enough; plastic bottles only have a one-in-four chance of being recycled. With that in mind, he set out to design a bottle that was reusable while accepting new cartridges of cleaner concentrate.
He wanted to reduce the waste created by shipping water and plastic bottles by removing water and creating a smaller concentrated cleaner solution.
"We needed a new approach that looks at products and ingredients, and it had to happen with innovation."
Foster says, "I had no intentions to invent, but I was always thinking about ways to reduce bulk and weight by using simple resources that we have. I got so inspired by what that could do — how it could actually transform the supply chain and how it could be a big positive not only for consumers and retailers, but for the environment."
In Foster's grandmother's time, bottles were primarily made of glass. Remembering his grandmother, Foster was inspired by the common sense perspective of her generation and the expectations for lasting quality in the products they consumed. The reusable Replenish bottle is inscribed at the base with his grandmother's name, Jewell, who in his words, "made the most of everything she had."
|Area||Greater Los Angeles Area|
A little pod
The Replenish bottle is a pioneering new design, shifting away from disposable bottles towards a reusable bottle that attaches directly to a concentrate refill pod. The bottle allows the user to easily mix the exact amount of concentrate with water inside the bottle by creating a measuring cup within it. Users turn the bottle upside down, squeeze concentrate from the refill pod into the built-in measuring cup and then add water. This design can by used in sprays, pumps, mouthwash — any type of household solution.
|Partner||Jason Foster, Founder/CEO Replenish Bottling|
While the utility of the bottle is quite simple, the delivery mechanism that connects the injection molded bottle and pod is more complex.
"Getting the visual measurement feature inside the reusable part essentially was putting a ship inside a bottle," says Foster. "Creating the geometries to be able to ultrasonically weld the bottom with the measuring cup attached to it and making sure those tolerances were correct was a challenge. The pod had to be something you squeeze but it still flexes back to its original shape."
"We wanted it to be glass-like and have a thickness that tells the consumer that this was built to be reused." says Foster. "We also needed a material that would work within the existing structure of recyclables."
The pod and the bottle are made of Eastar™ copolyester, known for its toughness, chemical resistance, and barrier properties, as well as being Greenguard Indoor Air Quality Certified and Cradle-to-cradle Certified.
Reducing waste and inefficiency in household cleaners is what prompted Foster to reinvent the delivery system in a novel two-part arrangement: a reservoir of concentrate in a pod that screws onto the base of a spray bottle, in which a unit of concentrate is mixed with water to make the cleaning fluid. The pod contains enough concentrate for four bottles of cleaner. When the spray runs out, consumers simply invert the bottle to replenish the concentrate and refill with tap water. The bottle is reusable for years; only the pods of concentrate are replaced. This design became the winner of the Alice 'Best New Product of 2010.'
"We're looking at new, different products down the line — mouthwash, beverages, auto care, fertilizers and anything that has water as the main ingredient."
"We're talking to big companies, big brands. Collectively we can change — we can take a billion bottles out of the landfill and a billion miles out of the supply chain."
Cleanpath using the Replenish Refill system is being used exclusively at Walmart.