Hawke’s Bay teens create tiny single-use hand soaps to fight pandemic and plastic waste

Shamballs are a single use, hand soap made by a group of Hawke’s Bay teens.
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Shamballs are a single use, hand soap made by a group of Hawke’s Bay teens.

Five Hawke’s Bay teens have come up with a business idea to not only fight the pandemic, but help reduce plastic waste when washing your hands.

Rory McKay​, Corbin Lee​, Daniel O’Connell​, Connor McAneney​ and Troy Volman​ are the brains behind Shamballs, a three-gram ball of soap that dissolves rapidly when used with water.

The Year 13 Karamu High School students developed the product as part of an assignment for their business studies classes.

“We came up with the idea because we thought there was too much plastic in the bathroom,” McKay said.

From left: Y13 Karamu High school students Rory McKay, Connor McAneney Daniel O’Connell, part of the team behind Shamballs.
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From left: Y13 Karamu High school students Rory McKay, Connor McAneney Daniel O’Connell, part of the team behind Shamballs.

They first developed the idea two years ago when they were looking at developing a type of shampoo ball to combat plastic waste, with an estimated one billion empty shampoo bottles thrown away each year.

However, they found it difficult to meet the hygiene standards required for shampoo and chose to focus on hand soaps when the pandemic hit.

“You can imagine with soap bottles it would be a lot more because you wash your hands more than you wash your hair.”

With 100 per cent plastic free packaging, it was a “sustainable solution” to ordinary hand wash found in plastic pumps while still being able to “kill germs”.

Tailoring it to the Covid-19 guidelines, meant they needed a product that would last for 20 seconds.

“With soap bars, you use it multiple times before you finish with it, but that can be unhygienic,” Lee said.

They started by looking for ingredients which reacted quickly with water and foamy. This also needed to be balanced with making sure the product was moisturising.

They quickly sold out of their products when they took them to the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market last year.
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They quickly sold out of their products when they took them to the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market last year.

“The first one we made was a bit coarse on your hands, but now it’s more comfortable,” Lee said. “We’ve had a lot of time to test them to find the right ratios of ingredients.”

The results are pinky-purple three-gram balls that smell of lavender and are made from local ingredients, including manuka honey. “All the ingredients are environmentally friendly.”

At the local Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market last year, they quickly sold out of their first batch of about 50 jars, each containing about 20 balls.

Their main customers are environmentalists and women between the ages of 18 and 45, O’Connell said, adding it had also proven popular for people fishing or tramping.

“People really like the portability of the idea. It’s really versatile. It’s something they can take with them that doesn’t have to stay at home.”

McKay said the group is keen to further develop their product this year, looking at introducing new scents and tailor-made products such as for farmers and mechanics.

 

CO-GOVERNANCE MUST BE STOPPED NOW – NOT 2026

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The insidious creep of the racist, separatist, secretive co-governance agenda must be stopped now – we simply cannot wait for a referendum in four years’ time.

The only future for New Zealand is one of unity, one law for all, under one flag. Any dilution or delay of that fundamental democratic foundation will be disastrous for our nation.

We do not need to have a referendum to tell us we live in a race-based separatist society, any more than we need to check the weather forecast when it’s already raining.

All of a sudden, we now have those who were once an integral part of the problem now posing as part of the solution.

There must be no underestimating the importance of stopping the underhanded, destructive, and divisive move towards co-governance in our country being pushed by the Māori elite and their fellow cultural travellers.

We cannot afford to wait for a referendum in 2026.

The only real referendum on this decisive issue will be kiwis voting next year at the 2023 election – any alternative will be far too little, far too late.

Winston Peters

New Zealand First Leader