Environmentally Sustainable DIY Paper Soap from SmartSolve Industries

Have you ever been traveling or camping and found it difficult to pack soap and shampoo? Or been in a public restroom and found that the soap dispensers were empty? If your answer to either of these questions is ‘yes’, a somewhat off-the-radar product may be able to wipe your travel woes clean: dissolving paper products allow you to make your own travel-size, single-use soap that will dissolve in seconds and can be easily transported. All you need to do is add a little water!

SmartSolve Industries, producers of a unique line of environmentally friendly, water soluble, paper-based materials, offers a paper face stock that works great for this “paper soap”.

Environmentally sustainable

The paper used for the soap is earth friendly. By dissolving the paper in water, waste and paper recycling energy usage are both reduced. Even if it is thrown away, the material is biodegradable, compostable, and flushable. Also, SmartSolve’s paper face stock are FSC certified. This means that SmartSolve only sources these products from responsibly managed forests that meet a strict set of principles dedicated to preserving natural forests. Lastly, 36 green screen tests have proven that the product contains no chemicals toxic to human or environmental health. All of this means that this DIY project is totally safe, sustainable, and fun!

Making the soap

To start your paper soap, you’ll need a few sheets of 3-point face stock paper. You’ll also need a ruler (optional), a few foam paint brushes, a tray, your choice of liquid soaps, small storage containers, and a way to hang the paper to dry. Some string, tape, and binder clips can be used, but coat hangers and clothespins will also work. For storage, old mint containers work great! It’s also important to be gentle with the material.

Next, lay a sheet of paper flat onto your surface and lay the ruler on the left side of the paper and draw a line to mark off a strip you will not coat with soap. This will help you handle and hang the paper later on. You can also eyeball this without a ruler if you are confident!

Pour a line of soap a couple inches off from the right edge of the sheet. Dip a dry brush into your soap and remove the excess. Start from the line that was marked off and slowly drag the brush to the right edge of the paper, making sure no excess gets built up on the edges.

Repeat this process until the entire sheet is covered, and then flip it over and repeat. To do this, carefully pick up the paper from the strip you left uncoated with two hands. It will probably feel like you are peeling it off like a label. Do this slowly! Gently lay it down on its other side and continue your coating. Once you are done, pick it up the same way and hang it to dry. Once they are dry, cut the sheets into smaller pieces to fit inside the container you have chosen.

You are all done! This process can be repeated for hand soap, shampoo, body wash, or dish soap. Traveling just got so much easier. Thanks so much for reading, and happy crafting!

Board Stock from SmartSolve® Meets Standards for Compostable Materials

SmartSolve board stock is ideal for compostable cremation urns.

SmartSolve Industries has announced that its water-soluble board stock qualifies as compostable according to the results of testing performed by third-party laboratories NSF International, Bureau Veritas and IPS Testing. These results have been confirmed by The Ashkin Group, an independent consulting firm that focuses on sustainability programs.

The board stock passed test ASTM D6868-11, which measures specific product performance requirements and identifies potential negative effects on human health and the environment. Specifically, the test showed that the material will completely compost in 40 days and contains no hidden or unknown substances that recycled materials sometimes carry.

SmartSolve board stock is 100 percent organic and can be converted into a variety of applications, including cremation urns, pillow packs and point-of-sale hang tags. Despite being compostable, the board stock retains its durability during use, according to SmartSolve Division Leader Jonathan Jakubowski.

“Testing shows that SmartSolve board stock is fully compostable and surpasses the industry standard for compostable materials,” says Jakubowski. “However, while water slowly begins the dispersion process, the small amount of moisture absorbed from normal, everyday use will not affect its pre-compost performance.”

Compostable materials are biodegradable, but it is important to note that biodegradable products are not always compostable. “Compostable” items exhibit several characteristics:

  • While compostable items are required to break down within a specified period of time in order to be considered as such, the timeframe in which a biodegradable material should disintegrate is unclear. The FTC has yet to specify this, citing only a “reasonably short period of time” to break down.
  • Compostable material will decompose into humus, or organic soil matter. This action allows the material to be used as a nutrient-rich fertilizer, and is a staple of organic farming.
  • Materials labeled “biodegradable” do have the basic capability to breakdown into its basic component makeup. There are no specific requirements that any portion of these component parts offer some type of environmental enhancement.
  • Biodegradable materials sometimes leave a metallic residue behind after breaking down. Compostable items, conversely, must fully and completely decompose, leaving behind no trace of foreign substances.
  • Compostable materials are mainly employed as soil amendments. By their very nature, they add nutrients and improve soil health and vitality in a variety of ways. Biodegradable products provide no such benefit when they disintegrate and their contents return to nature.

“Upon dispersion,” adds Jakubowski, “SmartSolve board stock returns back to the state from which it originated, with no net loss to the environment.”

SmartSolve’s Sustainability and Quality Initiatives


At SmartSolve, we remain aware and vigilant about reducing potential negative impacts on the world from our manufacturing and warehousing operations.

For this reason, we have developed and are consistently striving to expand SmartSolve’s TEAM ECO-DRIVE program–with the mission of building a culture of sustainability among our leadership, employees and vendor partners. Our goal is to make continuous environmental improvements in our processes, while delivering the highest level of customer satisfaction.

We have implemented a sustainability dashboard that tracks our efforts in several areas:

Energy Conservation:

We save electricity by using Light Emitting Diode (LED), Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs, and motion sensors in all facilities. We further conserve energy by turning off piped in music during non-business hours, and turning down hot water temperatures to 115°F (vs. 120°F). Climate control efforts include setting work area temperatures at 68°F in cold weather and 76°F in warm weather. We have also improved ventilation to assist the cooling of our buildings in summer.

Facility Consciousness:

For the maintenance of our buildings, we have specified the use of green cleaning agents; eliminated all chemicals and non-recycled mulch in our landscaping; eliminated salt in favor of sand for ice safety; and ensured all appliances used in our commercial kitchen and cafes are Energy Star rated.

Recycling Program:

We consistently recycle all inks, corrugated packaging, office paper, batteries, glass, plastic and metal; and recycle or reuse all pallets. Further, we have implemented a paperless, online pay stub program for employees. In less than two years’ time, we have limited monthly trash to less than 20 tons per month (vs. 25 tons per month, prior to this initiative), and have eliminated all pallets going to the landfill.


Green Products:

Steve Ashkin, of the Ashkin Group, has independently reviewed the results from accredited independent third-party testing laboratories, including Bureau Veritas and IPS Testing, for SmartSolve’s water-soluble label stock (sold under the brand names: DissolveMark™ and SmartSolve®). Testing confirmed the material passed the following tests designed to address specific product performance issues and to identify potential adverse impacts on human health and the environment. Those tests included:

  • Slosh Box Disintegration Test method criteria. - FG502 (flushability)

  • Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) - absence of lead & phthalates

  • Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (formerly CONEG) – heavy metals

In addition, SmartSolve’s water-soluble label materials have been and continue to be screened for restricted substances and other substances of high concern for human and/or environmental health against numerous lists derived from national and international authoritative bodies including:

  • US Environmental Protection Agency. Consolidated list of chemicals subject to the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA), Section 112(4) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), National Center for Environmental Assessment, and the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Database and Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program

  • US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

  • US National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Toxicology Program (NTP)

  • EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)

  • EU Regulation on the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures

  • EU List of Chemicals and their assigned GHS Hazard Statement (GHS)

  • California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act Of 1986 (CA Prop 65)

  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

  • Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC)

Based on information supplied by NSF, there were no ingredients included in the water-soluble label stock materials that were found to be of concern.


Environmental & Quality Certifications:

SmartSolve meets Forest Steward Council (FSC) Forest Management and Chain of Custody Certification requirements for the production and distribution of labels and paper using the transfer system. We are Chain of Custody certified to sell products as FSC Mix, FSC Recycled (Certificate Code: SCS-COC-005745; Trademark License Code: FSC-C132204).

FSC is the most rigorous international standard for responsible forestry. FSC certified forests conserve biological diversity, water resources and crucial ecosystems. The FSC standard also upholds worker rights and supports economic prosperity in surrounding communities. The FSC Chain of Custody certification ensures that certified wood products are tracked from forest to final product, and, if applicable, that qualified recycled materials are used, adding legitimacy to the FSC claim throughout the supply chain.

SmartSolve is GMP certified (Certificate No. 10532) as a manufacturer of printed labels for the food service industry. According to the Institute of Food Research, GMP—or Good Manufacturing Practice—is “a system to ensure that products meet food safety, quality and legal requirements.”

With the certification, SmartSolve is increasingly more effective at responding to changing regulations and customer requirements within the consumables industry. SmartSolve is also now SQF (Safe Quality Food) Level 3 certified (Certificate No. 16114) as a manufacturer of printed labels and shrink sleeves for the food packaging industry. SQF Level 3 is a GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) approved scheme with a quality control component built in and is recognized by retailers and foodservice providers around the world who require a rigorous, credible food safety management system.

Dissolvable Pouches, Water-Soluble Paper Present New Options

The pouching phenomenon is upon us.  

Earlier this year, Freedonia published a study that extolled the virtues of pouches and their future as a mainstay in the flexible packaging industry. Beverage Industry reported that, according to the study, the demand for pouches will grow to over $10 billion by 2020. The overview of the study touches on the portability and sustainability as the primary advantages of the packaging medium.

More specifically, single-use pouches are seeing an increase in popularity—especially with the ever-environmentally-minded millennial set. Generally made from dissolvable PVA, single-use pouches are utilized predominantly in dishwasher and laundry applications and leave behind no environmentally harmful material.

Water-soluble single-use pouches are useful in a number of ways. One such example lies in medical or industrial situations where human contact with a specific substance is unnecessary or harmful. The pouches are ideal in that they keep the contents—and user—safe until use. When the contents are needed, the entire pouch can be applied without opening, so as to reduce possible human contact. Moreover, pouches can be supplied in a variety of configurations to accommodate the customer’s unique needs.

In the midst of the surging popularity of this packaging, however, a different dissolvable pouching material has emerged. 

Made with a proprietary water-soluble paper and perfect for dry applications, SmartSolve Water Soluble Pouches dissolve easily and completely, in any water temperature, after 30 seconds. And while complete dissolution is an attractive feature, it is not the only environmentally friendly aspect of the paper pouches:

  • The ingredients have individually passed screens for restricted substances and other substances of high concern for human and/or environmental health against numerous (36) lists derived from national and international authoritative bodies (TPCH and CPSIA 2008, OSHA, NIOSH, EU Reach, California Prop 65, IARC, and NTP among others.)
  • The materials used have been approved as inert for both food and non-food use.
  • The pouch ingredients have been screened for restricted substances and are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA.
  • The water-soluble paper employed by SmartSolve uses less petroleum than a traditional PVA pouch. 

Competitively priced with PVA pouches, SmartSolve’s Water Soluble Pouches bring a set of advantages to the table that are difficult to ignore. Paper, unlike PVA, is printable. This allows for increased brand visibility, and, as a byproduct, could also alleviate the concern of children mistaking chemicals for candy—an issue which has garnered recent attention due to transparent PVA packaging that reveals colorful chemicals inside. Additionally, with regard to long term storage, water-soluble paper is the more reliable choice for two reasons: first, PVA pouches can stick to each other in certain conditions, whereas paper pouches will not. The second reason: PVA, over time, loses its ability to dissolve while paper retains this quality.

SmartSolve Water Soluble Pouches go beyond recycling. How do you see this evolving technology working for you?

24 Minutes to Greatness™ - Webisode 10

Webisode 10 - The Purpose of Business: Jonathan Jakubowski, SmartSolve Division Leader, gives a presentation to rising student leaders in the Forge Leadership Network.

24 Minutes to Greatness™ - Webisode 9

Webisode 9 - Denise Emerine: Through its monthly 24 Minutes to Greatness™ series, the SmartSolve Hydrographics team seeks to inspire processors to achieve excellence in the hydrographics industry. This 24-minute investment will add inspiration to your perspiration, helping your business grow.