Plastic-free shampoo bar

Editor’s blog: On a mission to go plastic-free in the bathroom

Last week was Recycle Week 2021, and we heard about a host of initiatives retailers and brands have embarked on to boost rates of recycling.

We at Green Retail World covered Superdry’s second-hand clothing push and Nestle’s investment in new recycling facilities in Scotland, among other big stories.

For me, personally, the green focus last week turned to the bathroom. For the first time I’ve bought some soap-bar shampoo, toothpaste in tablet form rather than in the difficult-to-recycle plastic tubes, and bamboo toothbrushes.

The aim is to go plastic-free in the bathroom. Not sure what I’m going to do about shaving equipment, deodorant and moisturisers, etc yet – but nevertheless, the journey has begun.

I toyed with going to some of the individual brands directly and starting subscription services, as is the modern way, but felt a safe start to this mission was health and beauty retailer, Boots.

I wanted to reward Boots with my custom for its efforts in rolling out beauty packaging collection boxes in 700 stores. I’ve not yet used it myself, but consumers now have a highly accessible opportunity to dispose of used makeups, moisturisers, eyeliners, mascaras et al in their local Boots – the retailer has extended the service after what was evidently a successful smaller trial.

New products in my cabinet

Anyway, the items I’ve gone for to green up the family bathroom routine include Wisdom’s re:new bamboo toothbrushes.

One of the environmental awakening moments for me over the last couple of years was when someone suggested to me that pretty much all the plastic toothbrushes ever made and thrown away probably still exist in landfill or in the oceans across the world, if they haven’t been incinerated.

They are very rarely recycled. Imagine lining those discarded toothbrushes up. In just one year, the number of toothbrushes thrown away would stretch around the Earth four times, according to some estimates.

Bamboo handles can typically decompose in a matter of months when thrown away, so that seems like a good change for me to make.

Elsewhere, I’ve gone for a couple of Faith In Nature’s shampoo bars, and Garnier’s Ultimate Blends shampoo bar, as well as PÄRLA’s toothpaste tabs. The latter comes in a glass jar that you refill once you’ve used them all up, with PÄRLA’s refills delivered in a compostable bag.

Let’s see what they are like. I’ll spare you a video of this experiment (no-one needs to see me in the bathroom) – so you’ll have to take my word for it when I report back!

Partnerships and plans

It’s worth mentioning this is the first blog I’ve written for a couple of months – I decided to skip it in August and enjoy the summer holidays.

Since the last blog in July, Green Retail World has secured a couple of fantastic launch partners. Payments tech provider Adyen and supply chain software business Manhattan Associates – two big suppliers to the retail industry, who each work with some of the biggest retailers around.

They have backed us in our early stages of development. In return, you’ll see some joint activity with each of them in the months ahead and their names will be associated with each story for the rest of the year.

I wanted to publicly thank them for the support, and encourage you to explore their propositions if you don’t already know them or work with them.

Now that the holiday season is behind us and that autumnal feel is evident each morning on the school run, Green Retail World will be getting out and about a bit more.

If there’s any store, warehouse, site, or new technology you think we should be investigating, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. If you want to sit down with us and explain your green strategy, you can reach us on ben.sillitoe@greenretail.world to organise a meeting.

If you’re a company cutting down plastic usage like me, then let us know about it.

And Recycle Week may be over for another year but we’re keen to see its spirit live on across the retail industry, every week – as part of a whole host of additional greener practices.

We aim to keep you up to date with all that’s going on.

Sign up for Green Retail World’s newsletter here, or follow us on Twitter @GreenerRetail.

Ben Sillitoe (@bsillitoe)

[Image credit: Green Retail World]

Leave a Reply