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For anyone interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle, cutting down on your plastic use is one of the best places to start.
According to the United Nations, only nine percent of the plastic waste ever produced has been recycled. Of the large remaining chunk, a small amount has been incinerated, while the rest has made its way into landfills or the environment. But with so many of our most-used products, from cosmetics to home essentials, coming shipped and packaged in plastic, reducing your consumption of the material is easier said than done.
Thankfully, there’s a growing number of companies upping their sustainable practices by doing things like creating compostable packaging, incorporating more earth-friendly ingredients or making products that can be repeatedly refilled.
These refillable products, in particular, help break the waste cycle you often find with home and beauty items. Instead of tossing your jar or bottle after finishing what’s inside, you can save the container and reuse it for the same purpose. While the process isn’t completely waste-free, most of the time the refills for these beauty and home products use significantly less plastic and materials than the originals. Plus, refills tend to be cheaper than the initial purchase, so buying these products will end up saving you money in the long run.
With that in mind, we found 10 refillable options to cover all your everyday needs, from cleaning to oral care.
Secret’s recently released refillable antiperspirant and deodorant keeps sweat and odor at bay, while also cutting down on waste. Once you finish your tube, you can pop in the refill pod, which comes in paperboard packaging that’s 100 percent plastic-free.
Grove Collaborative is a top destination for discovering eco-friendly home and beauty essentials. The retailer is a certified B Corporation, meaning it meets a high set of standards when it comes to how its business practices affect the environment, its workers and more. While there are plenty of reusable and refillable options to shop on the site, this set will help you tackle one of the most commonly used items in your house: hand soap. The bundle includes a reusable soap dispenser along with the brand’s Hydrating Hand Soap, which comes in plastic-free, recyclable packaging.
All of Tata Harper’s beauty products are free from toxins, fillers, artificial fragrances and other unwanted ingredients and most of them come in recyclable glass packaging, to cut down on plastic. The brand’s Water-Lock Moisturizer takes that one step further. Once you finish your jar of the hyaluronic acid-infused moisturizer, you can pop out the old pod and replace it with the refill.
Normally, when you run out of your multi-purpose cleaner, you’d toss the plastic bottle and go buy another one. Blueland’s reusable and refillable cleaning solutions break this waste cycle. The certified B Corp offers plenty of household essentials, from laundry to dish soap, that will help you cut down on plastic use. But one Shop TODAY writer put the brand’s bestselling Clean Essentials bundle to the test and was blown away by the results. The kit comes with four reusable bottles and cleaning tablets, each to help you tackle a specific area. There’s a multi-surface cleaner, glass and mirror cleaner, bathroom cleaner and hand soap. To use, simply place each tablet in its designated bottle and fill with water. The best part? The tablets are $2, so it’s super affordable to refill.
This gentle cleanser features a blend of kale, spinach and green tea extracts, to give your skin a heavy dose of antioxidants and vitamins with every wash. The formula is alcohol-free, so it won’t dry out your skin and it can be used for daily cleansing and makeup removal. The original bottle comes in recyclable packaging, which is a huge plus, but the brand also offers a supersized refill bottle, so you’ll never run out.
Great for all hair types, Ouai’s top-rated clarifying shampoo removes buildup and strengthens hair so your locks look and feel healthier. The bottles and caps for all of the brand’s shampoos and conditioner are 100 percent recyclable and made from previously recycled plastics. Even better? You can grab one of the brand’s refill pouches, which use 60 percent less plastic than a rigid bottle and includes enough product to refill three bottles (though it’s the price of two).
Skip the bulky plastic bottle with By Humankind’s unique mouthwash tablets. The alcohol-free tablets are made tartaric acid, to naturally balance your mouth's pH, and come in flavors like ginger and peppermint. To use, drop one into the included glass cup and fill with water to dissolve. Then swish around your mouth as you normally would. The pack comes with 60 tablets, which you can store in the refillable, silicone tablet holder that can be nestled inside the cup or slipped into your purse to use while you’re on the go.
Using regular floss requires some dexterity and skill, which is why some people prefer pre-threaded flossers, as a more convenient and easy-to-use option. Unfortunately, if you’re flossing as regularly as the dentist recommends, you’re using (and then throwing away) a lot of plastic picks. This sturdy, reusable floss pick is a great solution. According to the company, it replaces 180 single-use picks per refill. It comes in a cute carrying case that also acts as a floss dispenser, and you can have the pick strung and ready to use within seconds. Floss refills are just $5 — which is less than your average pack of flossers.
This sleek detergent dispenser will look so much nicer sitting in your laundry room than that bulky plastic detergent bottle. It's made from shatter-resistant glass and features a built-in spout and measuring cup. While you can fill it with any detergent or fabric softener, we recommend their non-toxic, plant-based formulas, which come packaged in a 100 percent recyclable milk carton.
Rihanna’s cosmetics brand, Fenty, has been lauded for its inclusivity, offering products for a wide range of skin tones. But you might be surprised to learn that the brand also has a strong focus on sustainability, eliminating excess packaging wherever possible and implementing refill systems for some of their popular products, like the lightweight two-in-one Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Sunscreen. The invisible formula doesn’t leave behind a white cast and it’s non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores.
For more stories like this, check out:
- Would you try a reusable cotton swab? I did and I'm never going back to Q-tips
- From swimsuits to cleaning products, 8 eco-friendly essentials to shop
- Interested in upcycling? Here's what an interior designer says to try at home