Last updated on December 11, 2021.
In my last article, I wrote about several companies offering cleaning products with refill options. Today, we will look at refill options for personal care products.
“To protect the health of humans and fellow creatures who share our planet, the urgent priority must be to eliminate single-use consumer plastic, and to invest in reusable, refillable and package-free approaches.”1
The Refill Shoppe
This company sells refillable hair, body, and home products made with non-toxic, vegan, and biodegradable ingredients.2 They have a storefront in California but offer online ordering as well. They are a Certified B Corporation, meaning they use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Their products can be purchased and refilled in pouches that you return to the company with a prepaid envelope, and they sanitize and reuse the pouches rather than just recycling them. They even offer many customizable products with the same refill options. Next time I run out of conditioner or bubble bath, I plan to try them!
This company was founded by two sisters who want to stop plastic pollution.3 Plaine Products sells shampoo, conditioner, lotion, hand wash, and body wash in aluminum containers. The first time you purchase, you receive a reusable pump. This is great, as you’re not getting a disposable new pump with every purchase. When you order a refill, you switch the pump to the new container. Rinse the empty bottle out and ship it back to Plaine Products at their cost. They will sanitize and reuse the bottles, creating a closed-loop system with minimal waste. Their products are vegan and cruelty-free, and they are also a Certified B Corporation. I plan to try their products in the near future! There’s an additional review under Additional Resources below.
I wrote about Fillaree in my article about refillable cleaners, but they also carry personal use products, so I’m mentioning them again here. They sell refillable liquid hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. You can refill any of these at stores that carry their products, and the hand soap and body wash are available as mail subscriptions.4They plan to offer refills by mail on their other products soon as well. This is a growing company with an ideal business model. The customer buys the refill product, which provides 2-4 refills in the original container, and then ships the empty containers back to the company for refilling at the company’s cost. They sanitize and refill the containers and ship them again.
This company’s tagline is, “high-performing personal care products
that are kinder to your body and our planet.” They’ve created refills that use little or no plastic and they do not ship water, reducing emissions. They sell shampoo and conditioner bars, mouthwash tabs, deodorants in refillable containers, and cotton swabs without a plastic container. This company uses vegan ingredients, its products are cruelty-free, it is a carbon-neutral company, and most refill packaging is home compostable. I’ve tried their conditioner bar and cotton swabs, and while a bit expensive, the products so far are high quality.5
“Great personal care products don’t have to come at Earth’s expense.” -by Humankind
“One billion toothpaste tubes are thrown out each year.”
Think about that for a second, one billion plastic tubes, tossed out annually! Most toothpaste tubes are not recyclable, either. The founder of Bite set out to solve this problem but was also concerned about the questionable ingredients found in common toothpaste and the fact that oral care products are tested on animals. She wanted to create a toothpaste that was healthy for our bodies, not tested on animals, and plastic-free. Bite toothpaste bits sell in refillable glass jars and have safer ingredients. The company offers a refill subscription plan, lists their ingredients on their website, and ships only in recyclable corrugated boxes and paper mailing envelopes. The refills come in 100% home compostable pouches.6 I’m very excited about this company, and I recently purchased Bite products which I’ll be reviewing in a future post. You can also read Beth Terry’s review of Bite, which I’ve linked under Additional Resources below.
The very week I wrote this, Bite released a plant-based dental floss in a refillable glass container, much like Dental Lace (see below). Refills ship in compostable pouches. Two weeks after that, Bite released a line of mouthwash tabs in reusable tins.
“Whether it’s mindlessly tossing out an empty toothpaste tube or glossing over the ingredients list, small daily actions can shape the future of our planet. By uncovering how we can be better to ourselves and to the earth, we are one step closer to a healthier and plastic-free world.”- Bite Toothpaste Bits
Did you know that most dental floss is made of plastic, some of which contain dangerous PFCs (perfluorochemicals)? And sold in plastic containers? Well, there’s a better option that’s natural and compostable, and in refillable glass containers. Dental Lace was begun by a librarian, and we all know how awesome librarians are. The floss is made from silk and can be composted instead of put in the trash. The glass containers are decorative, refillable, and recyclable. The packaging is all home compostable.7 I have personally used this product for about 3 years now, and I love that I can floss and not create a ton of non-recyclable waste while doing so. Below is a video review from zero-waste platform Trash is For Tossers:
“If you want to eliminate waste in your life – and in the world – the answers will always come down to one simple thing: consume differently.” -Tom Szaky
I’ve included this quote in many of my packaging series articles, as it succinctly summarizes what we need to do going forward. Consume differently. We must look for more sustainable, longer-lasting products. We must look for less packaging in our consumables and seek refillable options. If we demand better from companies and vote with our spending, we can make great changes.
This is not a comprehensive list of all the companies that offer refillable products but rather a list of resources. I have listed companies that I have either personally tried or researched.
We have one more topic to explore in this series: food packaging. So look for my next and final article in my Packaging series soon! By subscribing, you will receive it directly in your inbox! Thank you for reading!
This post does not contain any affiliate links nor did I get paid to promote any of the products in this post.
Article, “Shampoo Bars Eliminate the Need for Plastic Packaging,” Because Turtles Eat Plastic Bags website, October 2, 2019.
Review, “Why I Love Plastic-Free Bite Toothpaste Bits,” My Plastic Free Life website, March 21, 2019.
Article, “My Top 5 Zero Waste Shower Essentials,” Going Zero Waste website, May 19, 2017.