Home News & Features Teen Entrepreneur Aims to Help Rid Industry of Plastic Amenity Bottles

Teen Entrepreneur Aims to Help Rid Industry of Plastic Amenity Bottles


MELBOURNE, FLA.—Benjamin Stern, a Melbourne, Fla.-based, 16-year-old entrepreneur, is developing a shampoo, conditioner and body wash delivery system that could help rid the lodging industry of the millions of plastic amenity bottles that are mostly landfilled or otherwise recycled. It is not a dispenser but a way of placing a product inside of a water soluble ball. Stern’s company is called Nohbo, his product is patent pending and close to the point of delivery to a couple of major hotel chains for testing.

Stern was inspired to help do something about plastic waste while watching a film in January 2014 while at school. He saw how his mother used laundry detergent pods and thought there must be a way of delivering shampoo, conditioner and body wash in a similar fashion. He got a job at a sub shop to help cover expenses, borrowed from family members and his college savings account, and partnered with a law firm that offered up to $20,000 in pro bono services. He hired a chemist to help develop the product and has attracted the interest of venture capitalists.

“We are in the final stages of development,” Stern says, adding that he is working to procure the equipment he will need to produce the product. Shipments could begin as early as the next few months.

Will First Launch with Own Product, Scents

Nohbo will launch with its own line of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and even shaving cream Nohbo balls. The shampoo and conditioner will be sandalwood mint, and the body wash will be tea tree lavender. Stern says eventually it will be possible for hotels to offer other companies’ products in the balls as well.

When used in one’s hands with running water, the membrane dissolves, releasing the ball’s semi-dry contents that lathers easily with the water. Each ball will be packaged in compostable plant-based packaging, adding to the product’s green story. The balls can be displayed in a glass container or on a plate. Stern says the cost will be about half to a little more than half of what it costs per plastic amenity bottle.

In addition to selling the product for guestroom and spa use, Stern also intends to make Nohbo balls available for sale in on premise gift shops.

Go to Nohbo LLC.