Focus: Consumer Goods
Location: Melbourne, Florida
Plastic pollution is detrimental to the worlds’ beaches, kills wildlife, contaminates the marine food web and has created a massive island of garbage in the Pacific Ocean. Plastics make up almost 13% of the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream, a dramatic increase from 1960, when plastics were less than 1%. The major category of plastics in MSW is packaging, including water bottles, lids, and shampoo bottles. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it takes hundreds of years to decompose, poisoning the environment and the wildlife living in it in the meantime. Most plastic is made from fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, which release toxic emissions when extracted from the earth. A lot of times plastic waste is also burned releasing deadly gases like carbon monoxide, dioxins and furans in the air.
Nohbo Balls is one small step to help reduce plastic waste and make the world a cleaner place. Benjamin Stern, a 16-year old environmentalist, is the inventor of these balls. He was inspired by a mixture of a documentary he saw in school and the detergent pod his mother used in the laundry. The idea is to replace plastic bottles with an eco-friendly and waste-free delivery system for personal care products. Nohbo is the world’s first water-soluble, one-time use, environment-friendly ball containing personal care items such as shampoos and conditioners. It is activated by running water and friction, and it requires no bottle and no packaging, so produces zero waste. The ball contains no harsh chemicals, and is free of gelatin, so it is also cruelty free and vegan. Each Nohbo ball is wrapped in a biodegradable plant-based material, which means it is 100% compostable. Nohbo is also extremely handy to use; simply add water to the ball, scrub into hair and scalp, then rinse hair and dry as you always do. Nohbo balls promise to save hoteliers money, cut down on truck emissions as they are lighter and less bulky to transport, and diminish the need for a large number of the tiny plastic bottles that end up in landfills and the ocean. This ‘Eureka’ moment for Benjamin will definitely be a super hit amongst hotels, motels and even everyday consumers.
Currently Nohbo has two products: Smokey Sandalwood and Japanese Cherry Blossom shampoo. Future lines will include conditioner, body wash, and shaving cream balls. Benjamin has been in talks with Hyatt Hotels and plans to reach out to more hotel chains with strong environmental awareness. Nohbo just completed a successful campaign on Indigogo, and Benjamin also appeared on an episode of Shark Tank. Ultimately, the mission is to have less plastic shampoo bottles trashed in the oceans or landfills for up to 1,000 years. Do you think these tiny balls have what it takes to reduce plastic waste across the world?
Environmental impact: Avoided use of harmful chemicals, reduced ocean pollution, avoided plastic pollution, avoided use of fossil fuels
Measurement: Nohbo Ball
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