Packaging Improvements


#1

I am not a hippie environmental nutjob - I use paper plates daily to save myself from washing dishes.
But I was looking at the amount of plastic in a weeks worth of soylent.

I think its still better than eating from the supermarket, in terms of plastic waste, but an improvement could be made.

  1. Bigger pouches.
    In an effort to stop powder getting everywhere on the kitchen bench, i am going to pour 7 days worth of soylent into a tub and scoop it from there.
    So I would be happy with a bigger pouch. The pouches at the moment are good because they are thin, but they could be improved.

  2. Bigger oil bottle
    If a larger transparent bottle was employed, with 7 daily level marks on the side, one only needs to pour out increments each day

Plastic output could be lowered with bigger packages purely through the increased mass to surface area ratio for the packaging.

  1. I have not yet seen the new boxes, but I was quite surprised to see the amount of wasted space - the 7 day box is huge and it seems over half of it is wasted air space.
    I look forward to seeing the new box design that was announced on the soylent blog.

#2

I was thinking about a bigger bottle for the oil as well. I think that is the thing that seems the most wasteful to me. I would also be OK with a 1 week bag instead of 7 daily ones. It is nice to know you are getting exactly 1 days worth. When I was doing my DIY I started out being very exact about measurements. After about a month I gave up caring about the 100 calorie difference I might make by sloppy measurements. One big container worked out well.

I should be getting 1 month of version 1.1 tomorrow so we will see how much better the packaging is. I’ve still got the 1.0 box sitting here…


#3

No way to both the first points.

I make a day’s batch at a time, and I don’t want to fuss with scoops and figuring out how much Soylent to scoop. Same with the oil – I don’t want to have to carefully pour oil until it hits a line on the bottle.

It’s great to just dump the powder at night, and drain the bottle in the morning. Simple, fast and convenient.

What I’ll advocate is a oil bottle recycling program – similar to those recyclable toothbrushes you can find in TJ’s – include an envelope with a week’s worth of Soylent that you can toss the empty oil bottles in and drop in the mail to be sent to the factory to be recycled and reused.

I agree that the Soylent 1.0 package is oversized. They’ve apparently optimized the packaging a lot with Soylent 1.1, so I’ll reserve judgment until I get mine.


#4

Your opening sentence is offensive and your suggestions, while they may be well intentioned, are to me a bit all over.

The primary focus of Soylent is apparently improved nutrition and convenience. The adjustments your talking about, while environmentally conscious are (in my opinion) in direct contradiction to the convenience focus of the product.

Like @ravenvii I prefer the convenience of a daily package. Although I have no objection to them revisiting alternate packaging for others who find other packaging more convenient. I would prefer to see it as an option, rather than a complete redesign of the packaging scheme.

Most places in the United States (where this product originates from) supports recycling. I’m from an area that provides a free giant-sized recycling bin as part of regular garbage collection. (I realize this is non-standard across the US, but the availability of recycling is, I believe, nearly universal in the US.)

Instead, I prefer @ravenvii 's suggestion of some kind of recycling program. (For those areas where recycling is not readily available.) I have no concerns over “packaging waste” since for me, every single component goes into the recycling bin. There is no waste. (Except insofar as they don’t need an oil bottle or week box to be so large. But they are already addressing this–)

It’s not worth replying to the rest of the topic of Soylent 1.0 packaging being oversized or wasteful-- they’ve adjusted the oil bottle twice and the week-box-size once. Something everyone has commented on in this thread so far. Obviously they are concerned with waste and are looking to refine their packaging.


#5

Thanks for the feedback @raytaylor, it’s much appreciated. To address your points:

We are working on running stability testing to explore the possibility of bulk packaging. One of our concerns is that bulk packaging could result in a more rapid microvitamin oxidation rate (due to increased exposure to air & light compared to daily pouches).

Two issues here:

  1. transparent bottle = UV exposure = rapidly oxidized oil blend
  2. 7-day bottle = greater exposure to air = rapidly oxidized oil blend

The original boxes were definitely oversized (by necessity, because of different lead times we had to guesstimate the final volume of a Soylent 1.0 pouch during the box design process). Here’s a better idea of the size reduction in the 1.1 shipping box:


Shipping dimensions
#6

Please, make a pic of two packages next to each other (1.0 and 1.1). I mean daily pouches themselves, not delivery packaging.


#7

Here’s the comparison between the boxes. Pretty much half the width and a little shorter. Also note the oil is in its own protective cardboard container. The funny thing is, I think the 1 week order of V1.0 and the 1 month order of V1.1 came in the same size shipping box. Sorry, no banana for size comparison.


#9

(The black text near the bottom of the 1.1 pouch is the Lot # and expiration month/year)


#10

Nice to see Lot # and date. Hopefully it will help with debugging of problems and fight with re-sellers.
PS. As I see in the photo, showed Soylent was produced in September 2015?

Vitamins “decay” due to contact with air and light definitely can be an issue if you will have week-long packages or bar-transparent bottles.

@Soylent Do we expect to see any shipment rate improvements, because of optimisation of packages? As we see from tracker for the last 3 days: it’s exactly 5 months (based on six reported guys) from the moment of order to shipment, so back-log was moved forward by 3 days in the last 3 days.
I really hope that it’s because of shipment rate bottleneck, but not production capacity.


#11

I have to agree with ravenvil on the packaging. The one day packaging is essential for me being able to continue using Soylent. I live out of a suitcase 15-20 days a month, and the daily portions being measured out and packaged are the only way I am able to take it with me. I would not have the time, or the space to carry the tools/equipment I would need to scoop out a days worth. As it is, I dump a bag and a bottle of oil in my 1.9 liter Hydraflask, mix with water and a bucket of ice from the hotel ice machine, let it set overnight, and I’m good for the next day. Because it is labeled and sealed, I have not had Ag/Customs in 3 countries be too concerned with it, though they have asked. I’m guessing that if it was in self measured baggies, I would probably spend a good portion of my time with K-9 units.


#12

This is so terrible for the world. I see a lot of people doing this, and in the end, you make more waste than you save.
Same thing for eating “local” food. Yeah, they grow a lot, and a lot gets wasted due to lack of buyers, just due to the price and then they have to drive it out of your city to find buyers, thus it makes more wastes than it actually saves…

Just do your best to recycle what you can…


#13

Yeah, it’d probably be better for the environment to just include some text somewhere saying “Please recycle :)” as a reminder and to let those who would throw them in the trash do so. Otherwise you’re using a lot more packaging just to ship them the hundreds or thousands of miles back to a factory.

This makes a lot of sense for certain kinds of waste, though, like electronics recycling in places where the service isn’t readily available.


#14

Is the packaging all recyclable? I don’t see any recycle marking on the pouches.


#15

The pouches are not recycleable, unfortunately. The bottles and the cardboard that everything comes in are. My wife & I are trying to find out if there are ways to “up-cycle” the bags because it is a LOT of waste in the landfill (I /am/ a “hippie environmental nutjob” :stuck_out_tongue: ).


#16

Thanks for this. I just got notice that my package is heading over to my Reship box and from there to my home. I’m a pedestrian / transit user (i.e., I don’t drive and I dislike taking taxis). The new box seems like it will fit much more cozily in my cloth handle bags than the previous ones which look like they would block the handles. I intend to bring my box cutter and handle bags with me when picking it up.

As to the recycling issue, we in Edmonton have big blue recycling bins behind our apartments. I doubt the oil bottles will yield a deposit for either my landlady or the dumpster divers, but I’m pretty sure if I can find a way to clean the oil out, they will be acceptable as recyclable plastic. If not, it’s not a worse position than my current situation of lots of deli packaging.

The cardboard box is a no-brainer (collapse and blue bin). The powder package will probably simply have to be discarded but see the comment on deli packages.

Eve


#17

Personally I’ve found that the amount of waste that I generate (i.e. my kitchen garbage can) has been vastly reduced thanks to Soylent. It used to take a week to fill up a full kitchen trash bag. Now it takes almost one month to produce that much waste.


#18

I think that’s an important point. There is a lot of waste with Soylent’s packaging, but compared to what we were eating before you’re probably improving things.

Recyclable oil bottles are tricky because they’re not easy to clean and food contamination is no good for recycling, but seven tiny plastic bottles per week is miles better than the waste from seven trips to fast food on a lunch break, et al.


#19

If you have a plastics recycling program, the oil bottles will recycle. Turn them upside down in the sink for a couple of hours and the residual oil will drain out. If you want them to be extra clean, a drop of detergent and half full of water, shake, and empty, and they’ll be plenty clean for the bin.


#20

Definitely this. My post was mostly predicated on the assumption that many people are too lazy to do this in spite of the fact that there’s hardly any effort involved.


#21

I believe my first shipment was from the last 1.0 batch before the switch to 1.1.

These pouches have info ink-sprayed as pictured in the 1.1 example (left) in the side-by-side photo in this thread above.