The beauty industry is a huge contributor to the world’s plastic mountains. Shampoo, moisturiser, face wash, toothpaste—the list of polluting plastic packaging from this industry goes on and on.
There is new hope, however, coming from the zero-waste and “clean-beauty” movements that are seeing people swap plastic single-use containers for eco-friendly, refillable and biodegradable alternatives.
The all-vegan brand has been around since 2012, when founder Brianne West began making natural beauty bars in her university lab while studying biotechnology, as an alternative to the 80 billion plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles thrown out globally each year.
West told Vegan Food & Living that, “We’re thrilled that a full-range of zero-waste beauty products will now be available on the nation’s high streets at Holland & Barrett stores, helping British consumers give up the bottle.
“Despite our best intentions as consumers, just 9% of plastic is recycled worldwide, with the rest piling up in landfills or making its way into our oceans,” she continued.
“By creating solid bars of beauty products without the water that makes up to 90% of a traditional liquid product, we hope to help combat the plastic pollution problem by providing consumers with a zero-waste alternative. After all, there’s water in your shower – why would you need more in your shampoo?”
The self-taught eco-entrepreneur has grown Ethique into a fully fledged, award-winning international beauty brand with fans including Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher.
Since she created Ethique, West has crowd-funded over $2.8 million in just two rounds from people around the world who are passionate about her brand and reducing waste.
To date, Ethique claims to have stopped 3.3 million plastic bottles from being made and disposed of into landfills. To put their money where their mouths are, the company donates 20 percent of their annual profits to charities fighting to protect and preserve the planet.
They are trying to encourage the world to switch to environmentally friendly bars by promoting the hashtag #giveupthebottle.
To go completely plastic free, Ethique has taken it back to the good ol’ bar of soap. They have also created bars for shampoo, conditioner and facial cleansing. No bottles, jars, lids or pump dispensers in sight—just a bar that gradually disappears with use. Plus, all the bars are packaged in biodegradable materials.
According to Ethique, each bar also lasts 2-3 times longer than bottled products, due to them being super concentrated and made without water—an unnecessary ingredient that makes up most of the regular beauty products we are familiar with.
The company also uses 100 percent sustainably sourced plant-based ingredients, such as coconut oil, cocoa butter and essential oils.
Ethique started selling to UK customers online in April 2019. From the 17th July, Holland & Barrett will stock the zero-waste beauty products in 840 of its stores in the UK, including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, facial cleansers and scrubs.