Our fruit that is a detergent loves water – the geek term for that is that it is hygroscopic.
When it comes in contact with water, it starts to release saponins (the stuff that makes it foam). This is great in the machine or during a wash, because it means that with a little bit of agitation in the water, you get creamy foam that makes your clothes clean.
But it is not great if water enters the pack while transporting it to you. Because water tends to cake the powder.
Over the last year we have done several experiments with our product to keep it safe from water
We realised that we could prevent atmospheric water from entering the powder in 3 ways
- Creating a physical barrier through the packaging
- Adding a drying material in the powder (called desiccant)
- Both of the above
Creating a barrier in the packaging
Aluminium foil is used extensively in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. It acts as a complete barrier to light and oxygen, bacteria and moisture.
Aluminium was a no-no for us at Krya for many reasons:
- It is strip mined from the soil leading to top soil erosion and deforestation
- Mining aluminium consumes vast amounts of fossil fuel. The process of extracting aluminium from is estimated to be responsible for 1% of global human induces greenhouse gas emissions.
- While it is extremely recyclable, it often ends up in landfills where it can sit around for 400 years.
- Aluminium creates occupational health hazards for those who mine it and is a suspected health hazard for those who use it.
This of course left us with plastic as the alternative for creating a moisture barrier layer
We thought long and hard before adding a plastic layer to the fruit’s packaging. We spoke to experts from the R&D department of plastics manufacturers, and NGOs in the business of recycling, and decided to use HDPE as a barrier layer. If you saw our quick guide to recycling you would notice that HDPE is one of the better plastics that can be used today. It recycles very well, and becomes more re-usable the higher the thickness of the material used.
We have used 400 gauge HDPE as the primary package for the fruit that’s a detergent – it keeps moisture away from the fruit, and is very recycle-friendly.
We also have a layer of corrugated paper over the HDPE – it acts as a second barrier, and helps us print necessaries – like how to use the fruit that’s a detergent, and where we work, in case you want to drop in and say hello.
Adding a desiccant to the powder
We added a small amount of Calcium Carbonate (3%) to the fruit that’s a detergent. This absorbs moisture and keeps the fruit that’s a detergent dry. This is helpful because once the fruit that’s a detergent reaches you, the HDPE will be cut open and the detergent transferred to a container. So it is necessary to have the calcium carbonate working hard to absorb moisture.
We are working on alternatives to Calcium Carbonate, because it is also mined. While it is not as resource intensive or harmful to people and the environment as aluminium, we would prefer to tread as lightly on earth as possible.
We are looking for ways to make the fruit that is a detergent even more awesome.
Do you have any other ideas or experiences that could help us reduce / replace our plastic and Calcium carbonate with?
All ideas are welcome – and every one, however kooky, will be explored.