Eye shadow. Shampoo. Laundry detergent. Plenty of popular items people use every day routinely reside in plastic packaging. Yet we produce about 300 million tons of plastic waste annually and 91% of all plastic ever made is still unrecycled. If you’re eager to pitch in and reduce plastic pollution, swap some of your traditional purchases for products with plastic-free packaging.
A variety of independent entrepreneurs and some established brands proudly provide products with low-waste and no-waste exteriors. Plenty of that packaging, and often shipping packaging as well, is 100% plastic-free.
Among them is Ethique in New Zealand. Ethique products include deodorants and shampoos in solid form, with no plastic packaging. “Our packaging, shipping boxes, and padding are free from laminates and plastic (including our packing tape), which means they can go straight into the home compost and will disappear in a matter of months,” states Ethique’s website.
Enjoy these examples of responsibly packaged products. Happy shopping.
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- River Organics in Wilmington, North Carolina, uses post-consumer recycled paperboard for its vegan blush sticks, highlighter, bronzing sticks, eyebrow wax, and lip balms. Some of the sticks are in paperboard push-up tubes. Face oils feature glass bottles with metal lids.
- Foraged Fields in Vermont offers lip balm in food-grade cardboard. For blush and other items, customers choose cardboard or glass. “I love being able to offer plastic-free shipping as well and make sure that everything I mail out is plastic-free,” says April of Foraged Fields.
- Nudi Goods products all come in plastic-free packaging. “Nudi Goods believes in ocean-friendly, plastic-free living inspired by our natural world and accessible to all,” the website states.
Solid Dish Soaps
Lather up by rubbing your sponge or dish brush on your block of dish detergent.
- Vegan Dish Block from No Tox Life is free of dyes, fragrances, and plastic packaging. Skip the plastic container with this concentrated dishwashing soap.
- rE: Dish Washing Soap includes a slice of loofah for use either as a soap-holder or for scrubbing dishes.
- Ethique deodorant solid bars — unscented or with botanica or rustic scent — “… are designed to do away with water, and with it, the plastic bottles,” says the Ethique website.
- No Tox Life deodorant squares are available in various scents, including desert rose & citrus and Earl Grey. “For the unpackaged deodorants, keep it in an airtight container,” the website recommends.
- Organic Island Deodorant describes its packaging as “100% paperboard, pushup container, which is recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable.”
- PAPR stick deodorant comes in FSC-certified paper packaging. “We pack our healthy deodorants in eco-friendly and easy recyclable cardboard,” product information states.
- EiR NYC natural fir-fragranced deodorant stick features plastic-free push-up packaging.
Shampoo in Solid Form
- HiBAR shampoos: “One bar lasts at least as long as a 16-oz. bottle,” product information states. “The ergonomic design is easy to hold and use, and the compact design is excellent for travel.”
- Ethique shampoos include Frizz Wrangler, Kiwi, Oaty Delicious, and Sweet & Spicy. Ethique offers containers formed from bamboo and cornstarch. Containers are compostable (but likely only in commercial composting facilities).
- No Tox Life Solid Seaweed shampoo “This product is unpackaged and is wrapped in recyclable paper for shipping,” the website states.
- Raw Elements products include sunscreens in plastic-free applicators and reusable tins.
- EiR NYC sunscreen is reef and ocean safe and comes in compostable plastic-free packaging.
- Little Hands Hawaii “All of our packaging is either compostable or recyclable,” product information states. “Our labels are made from stone and printed with soy ink. Our face-stick tubes are compostable and the sunscreen itself is biodegradable.”
Plastic-free Laundry Detergent in Sheets or Strips
In addition to avoiding plastic, liquidless laundry soap is touted as travel-friendly, space-saving, and fuel-efficient. No spills or mess and the packaging is recyclable or compostable.
Diaper Rash Balm
Ethique Baby Bott Balm is a solid square. Product information offers directions: “Massage the bar between your dry, clean hands until you have a little of the balm on your hands. Apply a thin layer all over your baby’s bottom (anywhere else prone to soreness).”
Skip the Plastic Packaging — Good for You and the Planet
More and more brands are getting the message that consumers want zero-waste and plastic-free packaging. Show your support for those that are doing the right thing for the planet. Instead of squeezing out dollops of your favorite liquid detergent, soap up your sponge with a solid dish-washing soap. Same for shampoo — solid soap, without the plastic. For laundry, skip the plastic jug of pourable detergent that you’ve used for years. Instead, drop a dissolvable sheet of laundry soap into your washer.
If you’re picky about plastic packaging, you rock. Virtual high five! Your overstuffed recycling pile — and your planet — appreciate it.
Originally published on May 26, 2021, this article was updated in May 2022.