Sustainability manifests itself in many ways and is divided into different areas. From social to technological, ecological to economic aspects, the overarching theme of sustainability offers several opportunities to create your own impact.
With the Nepenthes bottle, our idea was to develop the most sustainable bottle out there.

How to develop a sustainable bottle from just an idea?
Since we developed the Nepenthes bottle internally and not for somebody else, it meant that we had the freedom to develop the product following our vision without compromising.
This allowed us to gain first-hand experience in the development of a sustainable bottle and its production.
In this article, we would like to share our learnings with you.

How did it all start?

For us, the journey clearly began with the choice of materials.

Before starting the design process, it was absolutely necessary to determine the basic material to use in the product. There are many sustainable materials out there and something it can feel quite confusing to choose one. The choice we were presented with were the following:

 – Material with recycled ingredients

– Material that is recyclable

– bio-based material / renewable raw material

– Industrially biodegradable material

– Home compostable material

Each of these listed variants has both advantages and disadvantages. We had to take a closer look at each one of them, not only from an environmental point of view but also form a technical feasibility point of view. For the Nepenthes bottle, we decided to use renewable raw materials, that is 100% recyclable at the end of life. Since biodegradadbility causes a lot of confusion in the consumer’s mind (and also in general), we decided to go for a recyclable option. Therefore, once the bottle reaches the end-of-life you should dispose of it in the recycling bin.

The entire life cycle of the product depends to a large extent on the choice of material, so this decision was our starting point and one of the most important factors.  

The next step led us to consider the number of components used.


As most people might already know, a bottle always consists of several components.
If we take a bottle for shampoo or shower gel, it is composed of body, lid, label and secondary packaging.
Our initial thoughts matured more and more into the principle of simplicity by reducing the number of components.

Like they say, less is more.

However, achieving simplicity is not as easy as it sounds. Going from complex to simple requires a lot of creativity and thinking outside the box. It is firstly important to ask the right questions. We focused on the mechanism of opening and closing the bottle and tacled the challenge of how to open and close a bottle by using only one component.

In this context, we also came to the point of labelling. How useful and sustainable is a label that is attached to the bottle with glue?

To answer this question, we naturally considered what alternatives might make sense for both customers and the environment. Finally, we came up with the solution of enclosing a product card with instead of giving the bottle an adhesive label during production. It is made of completely recycled paper and is therefore also part of a sustainable product cycle.

The lifespan of a bottle is crucial

Our design approach takes into consideration the entire life cycle of a product. For Nepenthes, it was important to extend the lifespan as much as possible. We therefore made the bottle reusable or refillable. We made sure by carrying out several durability tests, that the bottle would last for at least 2 years.
Finally the end of life of the product or disposal needed to be communicated to the consumer in an easy-to-understand way, because nobody likes complicated instructions. For this reason, we clearly communicated in our channels that at the end of life, Nepenthes is recyclable and should be placed in the recycling bin.

The heart of the development: the design

Sustainable can be beautiful. From the beginning, it was important to us to create a design that would attract people’s attention and remain in their memory. The design has to be so unique that it influences the customer’s decision to buy. With sustainability being the driver, we want to consciously contribute to making the behaviour of consumers more sustainable. And the design is the trigger.




The communication of sustainable behaviours and responsible consumption was the last step for the success of the product. Nepenthes is a perfect fit for the zero-waste lifestyle and a sustainability-oriented consumption.
In our current society, lifestyle is now a decisive factor as strong as product convenience and company’s values.

Where do I buy Nepenthes – The Eco-friendly Reusable Shampoo Bottle?

You can buy the Nepenthes eco-friendly reusable Shampoo bottle online from the Nepenthes Shop.

The reusable eco-friendly bottle is available in various color choices that fit your taste. In order to buy the same ‘ice blue’ color as shown in the above image, head over to the product page for Nepenthes. 

Marilu is an award-winning designer, actively working in the circular economy field. She consults on sustainable product strategy and she designs innovative packaging solutions. Her experience combines a creative approach with the technical experience of packaging manufacturing and plastic recycling.

Marilu Valente

Founder , Cyclic Design

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