Conventional home and body products are likely to come in a plastic container. That container’s life’s purpose is to hold that product. And despite the energy, resources, and transportation that went into that container’s production and distribution, that’s its ONLY purpose.
However, plastic is designed for a lifespan of hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Far exceeding the lifespan of the product it was designed to contain.
When the product is used up, after say a month or so…maybe even after a year, its container is discarded. Instantly, it’s deemed worthless. Maybe it’s fortunate enough to be recycled. But depending on the type of plastic and the area of the country it’s located in, there may not be a market for it. After all, only about 9% of plastic has been recycled. So it’s possible it ends up in a landfill.
Now, think about every product you rely on that comes in a plastic container. Your shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, lotion, face wash, and so on and on. Think about your friends and family and all the products they use. Think about the United States. Think about the world. Year after year. Billions of plastic bottles. Accumulating and living out their hundreds of years in a landfill.
Unfortunately, plastic containers also find their way into the ocean, even if they’re properly disposed of. There, instead of biodegrading, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic. Fish eat them, and humans eat the fish.
This. Freaks. Us. Out.
The goal of zero waste is to shift from this linear economy (produce, consume, discard) into a circular one. Instead of buying several shampoo bottles throughout the year, using them, and then throwing them away, you’d buy one bottle and when it runs empty, you fill that same bottle back up. Keeping that bottle out of the landfill.
Ok, well is refill really a better option? If you don’t make the products, what containers do you receive them in?
We want to be completely transparent given that (1) you deserve it and (2) when we first heard of refill shops, we had the exact same question. Isn’t plastic still involved in some way or another?
Unfortunately, often times, yes. However, not always! We’ll explain (in kind of a long-winded way, but stay with us!).
Several of our products are produced by Zatik Naturals. Based in Los Angeles, Zatik allows us to refill our glass gallon jugs directly with them. This totally eliminates the need for any plastic packaging! They also provide us with 100% package-free soap bars. Find out which Zatik products we carry here.
There are still plastic containers involved for all of our EO and Better Life refill products. The containers range from 1-gallon to 5-gallon capacity. But you may be wondering “why is buying in bulk better?” We took a typical plastic conditioner bottle of 12 fl. oz.* and a 1 gallon Grapefruit & Mint Conditioner jug from EO to calculate the plastic savings in ounces. Here’s the math:
Weight of the empty EO Grapefruit & Mint Conditioner 1-gallon plastic jug: 4.37 oz.
Weight of a full EO Grapefruit & Mint Conditioner 1-gallon plastic jug: 140.92 oz.
Weight of just the 1-gallon of Grapefruit & Mint Conditioner (4.37 oz. subtracted from 140.92 oz.): 136.55 oz.
Weight of the empty standard 12 fl. oz. conditioner bottle: 2.12 oz.
Weight of the full standard 12 fl. oz. conditioner bottler: 13 oz.
Weight of just the conditioner (2.12 oz subtracted from 13 oz): 10.88 oz.
If you divide the total ounces of conditioner in the gallon jug by the total ounces in the 12 fl. oz. bottle (136.55/10.88) you get 12.55. Essentially, to reach the total amount of conditioner in the gallon jug, you would need 12.55 of the 12 fl. oz bottle.
The 12 fl. oz. plastic bottle weighed 2.12 oz. Multiply 2.12 oz. by 12.55 bottles and you get 26.6 ounces of plastic.
(1) Empty gallon jug weighs 4.37 oz.
(12.55) Empty plastic 12 fl. oz bottles weighs 26.6 oz.
26.6 oz. – 4.37 oz. = 22.24 oz.
Opting for bulk saves 22.24 oz. of plastic.
There is always room to do better! It is our hope that with so many amazing refill shops popping up around the world, home and body product brands will take notice and begin to adapt in order to incorporate a refill system into their company structure. Until then, we’ll be reaching out to suppliers and requesting this option!
*We used the brand Acure for a comparable conditioner to EO. It was the last conditioner we had purchased before switching to refill. We loved Acure and reached out several times requesting that they provide refill/bulk. Hopefully, soon :)
Are your products all-natural?
“Natural” is an ambiguous term with a loose definition so will give you some specifics:
All products are always:
- Synthetic Fragrance-Free