A Copenhagen startup has got Twitter all riled up over its reusable, cotton LastTissue product — essentially, a hanky with millennial marketing slapped on it.
LastTissue describes its product as “if a Kleenex pack and a handkerchief had a baby”. In short, it’s a silicon packet that holds six cotton ‘reusable tissues’, and also features a pouch for stuffing the used, snotty ones.
The company is currently in the middle of a wildly successful Kickstarter funding campaign. Having set out to raise $17,720, at the time of writing it had secured $203,500 and counting.
The Kickstarter page boasts that each tissue can be washed at least 500 times, meaning a pack of six will provide no less than 3,000 nose-blows in its lifetime.
Get business news first
Sign up to SmartCompany’s daily newsletter
Of course, however, the product has also attracted scorn and mockery online.
First and foremost, there were those questioning the level of innovation here. Reusable tissues have, of course, existed for centuries, albeit folded into pocket squares and stuffed up sleeves, without the fancy pouch.
— Sarah Jansen (@sarahjansencom) January 28, 2020
This is part of a broader trend in the reusables market, where cloth nappies are making a resurgence among millennial parents, and reusable wet wipes — read: flannels — have been spotted at crafts markets.
It’s also vaguely reminiscent of the startups providing group ridesharing from designated pick-up points. So, a bus?
Or that time Deliveroo created an all-new ‘dining experience’, allowing people to order their food and eat it in one communal space. Groundbreaking stuff.
I was at a reusable market the other week and a Pinterest craft mum had a stall selling among other things “reusable wet wipes”. It was a flannel
— Cynical Monkey (@cynicalmonkey) January 28, 2020
The use of organic cotton also drew some criticism, with people noting its not exactly the most sustainable material.
Equally, while the silicone case is less problematic than plastic, the material isn’t exactly planet-friendly, and it’s not biodegradable, meaning these cases could end up in landfill.
And, traditional, non-techy, paper tissues are biodegradable and compostable, making them not the worst thing we could use anyway.
Also organic cotton is hardly environmentally sustainable!
— Sam Brown, Author (@SirenofBrixton) January 28, 2020
That’s not to say we don’t applaud the cause.
LastTissue is just the latest product from LastObject, which also sells the LastSwab (a reusable silicone cotton bud, keeping the one-use plastic kind out of the oceans).
And, after all is said and done, the post has gone kind of viral on Twitter, and the Kickstarter campaign has raised more than ten times its original goal. So, if we’re feeling cynical, perhaps this was a marketing ploy all along.
Tragic or genius? Who’s to say?