Sustainability might well have become more than just a buzzword, but how do you create packaging that is as unexpected as it is eco-friendly? Enter French start-up 900.care, which looked to the tech industry for inspiration when designing its refillable personal-care products.
Brought to life by independant designer Romain Lemahieu, 900.care’s shampoo, chewable toothpaste, hand wash and stick deodorant sport a minimalist aesthetic and made-in-France formulas with 95% natural ingredients.
With no labels or outer packaging, the refillable packs, made of partially recycled plastic, are sold via a subscription model. Consumers select how often they want to receive products, which are delivered in recyclable cardboard boxes. A refillable flacon costs €5. For the shower gel, which comes in a solid stick format to be dissolved in water, the equivalent of a 240ml refill costs €6.
“We often talk about eco-friendliness in terms of what we shouldn’t do,” explains 900.care co-founder Aymeric Grange. “We shouldn’t eat meat, we shouldn’t travel by plane… At 900.care we wanted to talk about ecology differently from a design point of view, and therefore sought to create unusual and fun packaging with colors that pop.”
Rather than looking to the cosmetics market for inspiration, the brand turned to tech. The toothpaste tube, for example, is inspired by voice assistants, while the deodorant’s design recalls an iPhone.
Refillable and designed to be kept over time, 900.care wanted its packaging to be both minimalist and unique. The two-tone flacons play on texture - the lighter color is glossy and smooth, while the darker shade is matte, with a rougher feel. Carefully positioned dots integrated into the mold form the brand’s logo. The packs are free of labels; as the containers are sold empty, there is no need to affix information, such as a list of ingredients. Brand recognition is meant to be communicated through its bright colors and “logo” comprised of dots arranged in a triangular shape.
“Ours is a radical departure from what is traditionally seen in personal care, with its heavily branded packs designed to stand out on store shelves,” acknowledges Grange.
A ban on single-use plastic
900.Care worked with two suppliers to create its bespoke packaging: plastic injection specialist VPI Faiveley Plast, which supplied the RPET and recycled PP toothpaste packs (a three-part mold) as well as the deodorant in PET and recycled PP and flip-top cap for the shower gel. Blow molding company Qualiform manufactured the shower gel and foaming hand wash, in PEHD and recycled PP.
The brand is currently integrating an average of 50% recycled content across the range, and hopes to increase this to 100%.
“We don’t believe that plastic is a ‘bad’ material; the problem is single-use plastic,” remarks Grange. “We like the idea of taking plastic waste and creating a beautiful object designed to last,” he adds. “We considered alternatives like wood, glass and aluminum, but when we examined the materials’ life cycle, plastic was the right choice. It is light, resistant and doesn’t require a lot of energy to produce.”
900.Care financed its launch on crowdfunding platforms Ulule and KissKissBankBank with pre-orders from June 2020. The online store went live last December, offering the toothpaste and shower gel, coinciding with a pop-store in Paris. The handwash is slated for launch in the first quarter of 2021 and the deodorant in May.
“Our ultimate goal is to create a 900.care option for every single-use plastic personal-care product you might find in your bathroom,” Grange concludes.
Shower gel/hand washQualiform
Toothpaste/deodorant/shower gel capVPI Faiveley Plast