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In low and lower-middle income countries, brands have long sold their liquid products in small sachets. It's a cheap and easy solution that also creates a huge amount of plastic pollution. Which is why entrepreneurs around the globe are offering refills instead.
In Indonesia, Siklus operates mobile refill units from motor scooters. Customers order and schedule delivery through the company's app or WhatsApp. They bring their own bottles or purchase one from Siklus, and the driver dispenses shampoo, detergent and other products from the back of a bike.
Siklus works with familiar brands including P&G, Nestlé, Wings, Total Chemindo, Reickitt, Godrej and Mars Petcare. Prices are said to be 5% to 40% lower than those in supermarkets and warungs, with average savings at 20%. Starting with two carts in June 2020, the startup now operates in Jakarta and five surrounding cities, with plans to expand to other parts of the country.
Sachet packaging was once heralded as a way to bring brand-name products to consumers who couldn't afford full-size bottles. Smart marketing? Yes. Good for rivers and oceans? Not quite. Undoing clever solutions of the past, consumers are increasingly willing to give up a bit of convenience for the opportunity to do right by their planet. Is your brand leading the way?