Thoughts on Packaging:
In June 2010, Solight Design’s founder and inventor, Alice Min Soo Chun, traveled to Nigeria to test early prototypes of the Solarpuff. With just a backpack and some SolarPuff prototypes she traveled to one of the poorest slums in all of Sub Saharan Africa, a floating village called Makoko. This village is not documented on any map, albeit located on the periphery waters edge of Lagos, Nigeria. Makoko was deemed so dangerous, not even the locals dared to visit. 5 kidnappings per day and shootings were rampant and many friends urged her not to go. There was political strife and local turmoil daily. The population in Makoko, a settlement of over 250,000 inhabitants floating on the water, has no access to sanitation, safe drinking water, or electricity.
Walking into the village you could smell the burning of trash and the aroma of grilled fish, and hear the sound of children giggling as they played. The smoke from the burning trash was stinging our eyes, making it hard to see. Using our hands along the thinnest alleys, we hunched ourselves through the labyrinth of narrow wood planks covering muddy foot paths. The sun was going down and we started to smell kerosene burning. The night was dark and thick with the pungent smoke, which made a strange apparition of a ghost-like presence lingering in the passageways. Through a small opening we met a group of local women selling small spices and food. It was inspiring to see women and their children all chattering about the evening’s small livelihoods. I was amazed by how thrifty and efficient they were with their portable shops, magically towering on a small basket balanced on their elegant and strong heads. All the plastic from packaging or waste plastic was reused to hold spices, money, toiletries and trinkets that needed to be stored. The witnessing of such masterful use of thrift and reuse, was one reason why we used the PET recyclable packaging. (See photo from Haiti food in Solarpuff packaging.)
We later sat under a small structure that looked like a chicken coop, with wires and poles made from small trees. Waiting on a small wood bench, we sat in our sweat, and suspense as we paused to meet with the three tribal chiefs of Makoko. Suddenly the chicken coop was too small to hold the stream of local men; from youth to aged. And then entered the three very grey haired, dignified looking men, with leathery skin toughened from the sun and salt of the amphibious life bestowed. The three chiefs looked, prodded and played with my solar prototypes. There, in the midst of the crowd of men and children, I sat eyes glazed and bewildered listening to the tribal tongue of Yurbu, hands flailing, as the excitement spilled over the wirey area in which we sat. They wanted more of what I brought, their eyes were filled with hope and shards of amazement as they saw the light coming from the solar lights I had made. “Bring More” they said.
Environmentally Safe Packaging is the Future.
Since then Solight has been tracking the environmental impact that plastic packaging waste has been having on landfills and the environment and the numbers are staggering; with an estimated 14.5 million tons of plastic containers and packaging generated per year in the US alone. The EPA also estimates that the recycling rate of PET bottles and jars is only 29.1 percent per year, based on data published annually by the American Chemistry Council.
Packaging represents about 65% of household trash.
- About one-third of an average dump is made up of packaging material!
- Every year, each American throws out about 1,200 pounds of organic garbage that can be composted.
The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world's people generate 40% of the world's waste.
We Care and We’re Taking Action
As a startup company with a mission to help mitigate climate change through solar innovation and design intelligence, we are changing our packaging to more eco-friendly craft paper packaging.
Early on, we decided on PET packaging for disaster relief and regions of need because we saw so many communities reusing our packaging for other needs. However, here in the United States, we sadly lack this vigorous mastery of reusing or recycling. To stand true to our values of sustainability, we proudly present to you our new line of recyclable, compostable packaging for our Solight products.
OUR NEW PACKAGING
Our new packaging design will be transitioned with our new Helix 2.0 upgraded product which we have designed with a larger battery at 1200 mAh and larger solar panel.
Drum roll please…