Laminar is a reusable toothpaste tube that can be infinitely refilled with your favorite toothpaste.
The tube is both fluoride and dishwasher safe and is designed to work as a traditional syringe. After you have emptied your tube, you take it to your local drug store or pharmacy, plug it into a refill station, and get your new toothpaste.
Over a billion plastic toothpaste tubes are thrown each year, many of them find their way into the ocean. While some brands are researching new recyclable materials, recycling plants still do not recycle any toothpaste tubes. Laminar brings toothpaste higher on the sustainability hierarchy, going from disposable to infinitely reusable.
Laminar also reduces the cost of toothpaste as it significantly cuts down packaging and transport. All the while keeping the same toothpaste volume and providing accessibility features such as grip options for smaller hands, no-grip wall mount for the elderly and disabled, and a foldable plunger for traveling.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
Laminar tubes are sold empty next to their refill stations at drug stores. Once purchased, the customer is guided through visuals to remove the packaging and plug the tube into the refill station to get 75ml of their favorite toothpaste. This interaction teaches the user how to refill when the tube depletes. With a small investment fee upfront, customers can expect reduced prices as there is no packaging/transportation cost. A single user can cut down waste by about 12 plastic tubes per year.
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
The tube consists of four pieces, a molded and pressed glass tube, a machine milled aluminum plunger and cap, and an injection-molded rubber top for the plunger. All of which are both fluoride and dishwasher safe. The three holes in the plunger not only cut down on material and weight, but they also accommodate smaller hands and different grips. Clear tubes and frosted tubes are both available with either a standard plunger or a foldable plunger aimed for travelers.
SPECIFICATIONS / DIMENSION / PACKAGE / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Laminar measures 10cm when fully pressed (empty), and around 17cm when fully extended (full). The average toothpaste tube length is 18cm. The outer diameter measures at 40mm, and the inner diameter is 36mm. The tube can hold up to 75ml of toothpaste, which is the current toothpaste standard. The packaging is a paper ribbon that fits around the nozzle and wraps over the plunger.
Prototyping custom glass tubes was the hardest challenge.
Pressing glass tubes was possible, but only if ordered in large quantities.
Glass blowing was not possible due to the intricate measurements, so the prototype had to be made from plexiglass. As I had no metal milling tools, the prototype plunger, cap, and nozzle were made of carbon fiber 3D prints. Consulting factories have influenced some of the design decisions, ensuring the possibility of mass production.