Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Washing-up liquid dispenser

One good way to reduce the amount of packaging people use is to make the containers that people use around the house into permanent things, allowing the containers that are used to transport the products from the shop to the house into less robust or less practical, but, crucially, less for landfill. An example is selling milk in bags: the bag is not a robust or practical form of packaging, but the consumer transfers the milk to a must more robust and practical form of packaging when they get home (i.e. a jug).

All of this brings me neatly on to an idea about washing-up liquid dispensers. All that I have seen on the market are like soap dispensers: a pot with a push-down spout. The only problem with these is you want the washing-up liquid in the middle of the bowl, not at the side, so you need to life the dispenser. If the dispenser instead had a long delivery arm pivoting at the bottom, this could pivot over the sink and deliver the washing-up liquid to the middle of the bowl. If the pump action is only triggered as the arm approaches the horizontal, then no liquid would be dispensed until the dispensing end is over the centre of the bowl. The image below spectacularly fails to illustrate this:

Personal diaster planning

Businesses do it. Governments do it. Why don't individuals and families plan for disaster? Or are they just relying on businesses and government?

What people need is a template to make it easy: a list of eventualities and a list of countermeasures that people can pick and chose from.

The list of eventualities may include: loss of employment; unexpected pregnancy; divorce; death (oneself or family); damage to house (fire, flood, etc); moving house; theft of key assets (e.g car); loss of savings (e.g. bank goes bad); negative equity; larger civic disasters (Katrina-type flooding; earthquake; tidal wave; meteor; nuclear holocaust).

The list of countermeasures may include: insurance; savings (spread between several institutions); reciprocal temporary accomodation arrangements with friends and family.