There's no one way to solve the plastic waste problem, but in the packaged goods sector, an enormous amount of plastic is used in order to surround and protect simple solutions of some agent dissolved in water, from toothpaste to window cleaner to shampoo.
Treehugger's Katherine Martinko surveys a slate of companies that are shipping dehydrated, solid products that outperform their pre-mixed cousins, while costing less and using far less plastic, like Blueland, whose Windex-beating window cleaner ships as a $2 tablet that you add to a spray-bottle (the bottle comes in a starter kit and you only have to buy one).
Obviously, this won't solve the problem, but it represents a substantial advance on the status quo.
When you stop to think about it, much of what we're shipping around the world is water. Whether it's cleaning products or personal care products, these are mostly made up of water, with ingredients mixed in to clean, moisturize, color, or do whatever task you need.
Now imagine if we could remove the water and only ship the additive. It could come in dry tablet or bar form and, depending on its use, could be dissolved in water to create a product just as strong as anything you'd buy at the store, or used in bar form directly on your body. This would save money, hassle (who loves lugging heavy jugs of detergent home from the store?), and environmental impact (think of the carbon emissions required to get that jug from its manufacturer to your home).
Here's an incredibly simple solution to plastic packaging waste [Katherine Martinko/Treehugger]
(via Naked Capitalism)
(Image: Cheryl, CC-BY-SA)