What we did
- Structural Packaging
- Mechanical Engineering
- Manufacturing Liaison
For almost a decade, Puracy has operated with a single goal in mind – to make effective, plant-based cleaning and personal care products that are gentle enough to be used around newborns. After over 20 years in the cleaning products industry, the founders knew that many natural products that were safe for use around children and pets had a tradeoff– they didn’t perform very well. As a result, Puracy was created to find the perfect balance between good chemistry, safe ingredients, and product efficacy with optimal user experience.
Many products, one platform
Prime Studio started working with Puracy 2019 on an overall brand refresh but the Covid lock-down and subsequent supply chain issues forced that project to end. They reached back out to us in late 2021 with a bold new project brief:
"Apply the Puracy brand values across the entirety of their primary packaging and refill offerings to create a sustainable system, raising the bar for all cleaning and personal care product brands."
When asked about the main driver for the initiative, Sean Busch, Puracy’s Co-Founder said,
“We wanted to pursue an alternative to refill pouches mainly due to the lack of user adoption we were seeing in the market. It became clear that the cost savings and 90% waste reduction that the pouch refills provided were not large enough benefits to users when weighed against the added time and effort of refilling a bottle. We saw the same trend with concentrates so our goal was to take the refill process away from a ‘science experiment’ feel and move into a quicker, more efficient solution, without sacrificing on formulation or sustainability."
Cleaning up the cleaning world
When we first began working with the Puracy team, we quickly discovered that we shared a common mindset: A responsibility to ensure that the products we produce are neither harmful to individuals nor the environment.
During our initial market audit, we discovered that the most prevalent refill solution for these cleaning and personal care products was the refill pouch. However, using a plastic pouch with a small nozzle can be to be wasteful, messy, and difficult at times, making a chore out of what should be a simple task. In addition, most pouches have a dual-laminate construction and are non-recyclable by nature, taking away from the core reason to use a refillable solution.
Concentrated formulations which require dilution for use are also available, but consumers often find them not intuitive, creating a barrier for adoption. In fact, Puracy’s data suggests that users are 10x more likely to purchase a new bottle of surface cleaner rather than use a concentrate to refill an empty bottle.
"We knew it would be important to solve for the massive stopping point created by the need to retrieve the concentrate or tablet, fill with water, shake, often accompanied by the few minutes wait time for mixing/activation. All in all, creating a delay and adding unnecessary steps to the cleaning process."
-Sean Busch, Puracy Co-Founder
With this knowledge, we began to iterate on the overall form and part-breakup of the system with optimal use and refill experience in mind. We quickly discovered a few challenges that came from the ask to consolidate all cleaning and personal care products into one platform. First, how is the user able to identify the product within the system? Second, how can the system accommodate a variety of products and dispensing heads without sacrificing user experience and efficiency.
It was through understanding the optimal part-breakup that we arrived at a two-part system approach, allowing for the widest mouth opening for both refill and cleaning of the system itself. During this process, we explored several alternate refill methods with a focus on fast, spill free, and carefree solutions.
"When you run out of surface cleaner, it usually happens in the middle of cleaning and could derail you for minutes, resulting in the need to measure and mix concentrate or create undue waste by simply tossing the initial bottle and grabbing a new one."
-Sean Busch, Puracy Co-Founder
The two-part system approach presented an opportunity, which ultimately led to the final design and refill solution: the use of a standard aluminum can “cartridge” style refill solution. This cartridge style approach removed the need for the user to interact with the liquid product, preventing any possibility of spilling, mixing, or over-filling, all while saving time and effort.
And the aluminum cans are both cost-effective and infinitely recyclable which met the projects sustainability and inclusivity goals.
After several rounds of prototype refinement, we developed a system top with precision engineered internal hard snap geometry. This geometry snaps on to the rim of the can, providing an audible “click”, indicating that the cartridge is secure and ready to use.
Once the system was vetted and tested, we partnered with our friends at Product Evo to bring the final design to life.
“We appreciate how they fill in the blanks for us, and they’ve been able to help us navigate through this process. This was uncharted territory for our company, and Prime Studio helped us get comfortable with the process.”Sean Busch Puracy
While the development of the internal top geometry was on-going, we began exploring the CMF of the system. One of our initial goals was to create a product that users wanted to hold on to for an extended period of time. Not only did it need to function well, the system also had to be timeless and engaging, ensuring that users would see its value and continue to reuse it. By making the base clear, we solved the product identifier challenge, relying on the labeling of the can itself to indicate which product was in use. In an effort to add to the premium look and feel of the system, we also explored several unique outer surface textures creating a cohesive form and adding to the functionality of the bottle, while taking into account the optimal molding strategy.
The Puracy team’s vision for the future was a bold one: To consolidate their entire line of cleaning and personal care products into one premium, sustainable, reusable, and easily refillable platform.
Our design, aptly named the “Clean Can System”, delivers on three fronts:
- A packaging solution suitable for a variety of products and formulations.
- A refill solution that is easily and infinitely recyclable.
- A cleaning system that eliminates the need to pour, measure, or mix, creating a mess-free and hassle-free experience.
Designed to have more than a 10-year lifespan with thousands of refills, the Clean Can System brings real sustainability to a market that is notorious for non-recyclable materials and harsh chemicals.
“Although many materials are labeled as able to be recyclable the reality is that many of them are not actually recycled. For example in 2021 the USA recycled less than 5% of its plastic waste. People are familiar with aluminum cans and the concept of recycling them. In fact, 2 out of every 3 aluminum cans in the USA are recycled. We wanted to make sure that we were developing a system that would meet true sustainability goals.”Stuart Harvey Lee Prime Studio