Reducing Emissions Worldwide and Getting to 20% with Design Concept Twenty

By: Bill McCool

When we think about the life of any given product, we may not consider the journey it has undergone, from the time it was manufactured to the moment where we purchased it at the store. We often forget that someone had to package it, box it up, and then load it onto a truck or a shipping container where it may have traveled thousands of miles and ate up gobs of fuel just to get there.

Designer Mirjam de Bruijn wants to rethink that journey with her design concept, Twenty.

It started with a simple idea: if most of our household products are primarily made of 80% water, why can’t we just remove the actual water in these products and ship the distilled, concentrated version of them? Reducing the weight of household cleaners would lead to lighter shipments and that would lead manufacturers to use less fuel when shipping their packaged goods.

Additionally, that also means lower CO2 emissions. Combined shipping emissions by land, sea, and air account for 17% of all global CO2 emissions, making this a critical issue for all packaging designers.

Twenty consists of three products—dish detergent, shampoo, and an all-purpose cleaner. While the all-purpose cleaner comes in a powdered form, the shampoo and dish detergent come as concentrated pellets. Using one of their refillable bottles, you would simply toss the pellet inside, add water, shake, and voila.

While the products are shipped in recyclable cardboard packaging, the real winner here is the reusable bottle. Adorned with the Twenty logo, it’s a nod to sustainability that seems to indicate that the future is not only in refill, but it can be branded as well.

Having recently graduated from the Netherland’s Design Academy of Eindhoven, de Bruijn’s design project Twenty was a part of her thesis. It all falls in line with her ethos of using design critically, not just for the sake of aesthetics, but to challenges ideas and consumer behavior while also making beautiful products. With Twenty, it’s an incredibly useful concept that could be easily applied by most any maker of household and personal care items.

For eco-conscious shoppers in areas with readily available running H2O, “just add water” might be the most beneficial three words that could actually help significantly reduce harmful CO2 emissions.

Bill McCool
Bill McCool is a freelance writer based out of Los Angeles. Though new to the world of design, he has always been a storyteller by trade and he seeks to inspire and cultivate a sense of awe with the work and artists he profiles. When he's not winning over his daughters with the art of the Dad joke, he is usually working on a pilot, watching the Phillies, or cooking an elaborate meal for his wife.