We’ve Got Problems (120 Billion of them)
We created our refillable deodorant to help solve the problem of plastic waste in cosmetic products. The beauty & personal care industry is the single biggest contributor to plastic waste. In 2018, it created over 120 billion units of plastic packaging. Let that soak in for a minute. We threw away over one-hundred and twenty billion shampoo bottles, toothpaste containers, and soap dispensers into the garbage, tossing them aside like they were peanut shells (do you know how much plastic waste you’re creating). Less than 9% of this plastic was recycled, and over 70% flows directly into our oceans and landfills. We have a mass of plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean that is already three times the size of France, and we’re on pace to have more pounds of plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. This is a major problem, and one that is not receiving enough attention. We created Helmm and our refillable deodorant to help address it.
Historically (and somewhat surprisingly), the beauty & personal care industry was actually pretty sustainable. Glass bottles dominated the market, and reusable packaging was a staple for many brands. However this all changed in the 1950s, when companies discovered a material far easier to work with – a material that would drastically lower costs and offer much more optionality in their packaging. This material was plastic. Since then, companies have continued to flock to plastic for its price, and the ability to easily customize design. In a world of similar products, brands stand out on shelves and on bathroom counters through colorful packaging and design. While lime green shampoo containers might look nice in your shower, these colorful and opaque packaging options make plastic extremely hard to recycle. Because of this, the majority of beauty & personal care packaging goes straight into our oceans and landfills.
A Push for Change
Thankfully, consumers have started to push for change (including refillable deodorant). Consumer preference shifts force companies to reconsider their packaging options in favor of more sustainable alternatives. In a 2020 study done by IBM & the National Retail Federation, 70% of US consumers indicated they want eco-friendly products. Additionally, consumers indicated they would be willing to pay a premium for something more sustainable. Products labeled “sustainable” have grown 5.6x faster compared to conventional alternatives. These findings indicate that many consumers are fed up with brands that lack a conscience towards our environment. This has led to an industry-wide awakening – even behemoths like Unilever and L’Oreal have committed to ensuring “all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or refillable by 2025.” Whether they ultimately deliver on that promise is another discussion entirely.
Unilever and L’Oreal have committed to ensuring “all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or refillable by 2025.”
Refillable Deodorant and other Sustainable Solutions
In order for there to be widespread adoption of sustainable packaging, it has to look, feel and function like current options. Consumers will not adopt sustainable alternatives if it requires them to change what they’re used to. This is the issue with many eco-friendly options these days – they ask customers to sacrifice quality, efficacy, or cleanliness in the pursuit of sustainability. The main options for eco-friendly packaging are:
- Compostable Packaging (cardboard tubes, push-ups, etc.): lacks durability, quality, and ease of use
- Reusable or Closed-Loop Packaging: comes with cleanliness / hygiene concerns, and requires too much from everyday users
- Refillable Packaging: the only alternative that offers premium quality, cleanliness, durability – like our refillable deodorant
We believe that refillable packaging is the future. It’s the only alternative that offers people high-quality, clean, and familiar products that don’t require sacrifice or extra work to use. Here at Helmm, we spent years developing innovative and easy-to-use refillable packaging. Our refillable deodorant reduces plastic waste by over 65% per unit, while still containing the same amount of product. Learn more today at www.helmm.com.