The rise of refills has created a fresh entry point for those conscious consumers eager to get their eco on, says Matt Chittock
Gwyneth Paltrow and David Attenborough may make an odd couple, but together they have done more than anyone else to revolutionize the eco living category.
Think about it for a second. Attenborough is the national treasure who delivered the world’s ultimate anti-plastic argument in Blue Planet. Meanwhile, through her online empire Goop, Paltrow has taken the public’s quest for sustainability and given it a desirable spin through her wide-ranging personal recommendations for clean, green and aspirational eco lifestyle products.
While independent retailers probably won’t be stocking Gwinnie’s This Smells Like My Vagina candle any time soon, they have been busy meeting the demand for the sustainable essentials these two famous names have created in their wake.
For consumers, this new planet-positive mood means investing in refills around entry-level sectors like home care, and stores like Reno Refills in Wymondham are only too happy to support them.
“The home care category is always very popular,” says co-owner Chris White. “Products like washing-up liquid act as a good entry point into refillables. And once customers refill their washing-up liquid, or floor cleaner, they’ll have a look around to see what else we have on offer.”
Many health store stalwarts like Bio-D have been championing refillables for years with dedicated in-store refill stations. As these brands start to spread their wings (Bio-D announced this year that it had won listings with hardware outlet Robert Dyas), it leaves room for fresh names to make their mark.
These newer brands include Clean Living, which presents its eco-clean range in aluminium bottles designed to be refilled and recycled. To inspire customers further, it’s offering more niche (but essential) products like Dry Carpet Cleaner.
CEO Helen Bee describes her approach as ‘biological cleaning’. “Biological clean-ing products are live solutions containing biodegradable surfactants, water and – most importantly – 100% natural and safe bacteria,” she explains.
“Once applied, the bacteria get straight to work to degrade fats, oils, grease and organic grime, converting them into oxygen and other useful compounds. Biological cleaning is a much more environmentally friendly way to clean than toxic chemicals, but it’s just as effective.”
As Bee notes, safety is a powerful driver for home care: for both customers and their kitchens.
“When it comes to surfaces, chemical cleaners are still the preferred method of sanitizing,” says Kirstie Jones, environmental health officer at Navitas Safety. “The issue of opting for products that are too harsh and not appropriate for the specific area is that chemicals can begin to cause corrosion. Over time, this can create expensive damage to the kitchen and worse, physical food contamination. An example could be metal work within your kitchen that begins to break away due to the corrosion. If any pieces of this get into food that is then unknowingly consumed, it could cause injury.”
Natural brands have always delivered on safety, and that’s put them in a great position to capitalize on hand sanitizers with an eco edge. For instance, Elixirs of Life offers a 65% Cleansing Hand Sanitiser featuring provitamin B5 to care for hands. Elsewhere, Benecos Liquid Soap is certified by EcoCert and features lemon balm for a kind, but thorough, clean.
Both these sanitizers fit nicely in a handbag. And speaking of bags, tote bags are an everyday essential that have become a stylish way to signal that consumers care about the environment. Boho Homes is a social enterprise that offers cool old-school mesh bags perfect for lugging home customers’ refillable hauls.
Plus, you could even make like The Natural Store in Falmouth and brand your own reusable bags to highlight your shop as well as your customers’ sustainable credentials.
Uptake of single-use plastic has surged during the pandemic amid uncertainty around the safety of reusable containers, says Hayley Clarke, managing director of Australian eco brand Onya. But are single-use containers safer than reusables?
“Over 115 health experts from 18 countries say no. In a joint statement released on 22 June 2020, they reassure the public that reusables are safe to use, especially by simply practicing basic hygiene (Greenpeace).
“Studies show that the virus can stay viable on hard surfaces for days (The New England Journal of Medicine). It has been found that the virus can stay active the longest on non-disinfected plastic surfaces, where it can stay for up to six days. This is as long as when it’s on stainless steel but much longer than when on paper, cardboard, glass, or cloth.
“This shows that single-use plastic is no safer than reusables. Single-use plastic could even be more contaminated when it has been left exposed before use compared to frequently cleaned and disinfected reusables. Using reusables is a viable option during the pandemic. The key, according to experts, is to use basic hygiene.”
Onya recommends sharing the following tips with your customers:
• Wash reusables thoroughly after each use
• Use natural, organic and alcohol-based sanitizers and household disinfectants on surfaces to eliminate contaminants
• Dry reusables thoroughly.
The Sustainables Plastic Free Accessories
B Corp certified Beauty Kitchen have introduced Plastic Free Accessories to their sustainable line up as natural alternatives to their single use and synthetic counterparts. Reusable, microfibre free, unbleached and 100% compostable, the range extends from soap rests to face cloths and body sponges to travel tins. These products are a simple way to make a sustainable swap to reduce the amount of plastic in any bathroom. Made with only natural materials such as cotton, hemp, sisal and coconut fibre, these vegan waste zero accessories have been created with cradle to cradle principles in mind.
Conditioner Bars – Lavender & Tea Tree / Geranium
Relax…Friendly Soap’s all-natural conditioner bars have calming essential oils and leave hair softer, fuller and wonderfully frizz-free.
This amazing pair use a nourishing blend of cocoa butter and castor oil for great results. With relaxing lavender and a choice of tea tree or geranium essential oils to cleanse and moisturise the scalp. All this from a handy little, cruelty-free bar that comes in a planet-friendly box (not a plastic bottle in site!) plus, you won’t find any preservatives or sulfates in Friendly bars; all they add is a feel-good factor.
Eco-Conscious Beauty With Balade En Provence Eye Contour Serum
Infused with the healing and regenerative properties of the famed Immortelle flower, the Balade En Provence Eye Contour Serum delivers a balanced concentration of brightening and soothing ingredients to the delicate eye area. Known for their certified organic, vegan and waste-free products, Balade En Provence offer eco-conscious formulas that harness the beautifying powers of the natural, local ingredients of Provence – without watering down the benefits. Made in France, this solid serum is infused with all-natural and anti-oxidant rich cocoa butter and restorative omega-6, and gently melts on contact with the skin. For more information or to place an order, visit www.kinetic4health.co.uk or email
Plastic-Free Sustainable Food Storage
WaxWrap is a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap and aluminium foil made from 100% natural materials: organic cotton cloth coated in a mixture of beeswax, pine resin and jojoba oil. Meets the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 approved. Use to cover bowls and containers and contain almost any food: sandwiches, vegetables, fruits, snacks, cheese and salad. Self adhesive and waterproof. Available in 3 different formats: the first Rolls in the UK (20x120cm, 30x150cm and 40x200cm), Bags/Sleeves (a set of 3 in different sizes: 21x21cm/25x25cm/32x32cm), and Cloth Sheets (a set of 3 in different sizes: 20x20cm/30x30cm/40x40cm). Available from www.kinetic4health.co.uk [email protected]
Sustainable Alternatives to Single Use Plastic
In the past 5 years over 165 tonnes of plastic waste has been diverted from landfill due to the use and production of Onya products. Since 2004 we have helped individuals reduce single use plastic in their lives by empowering them to choose to reuse instead. With a focus on attractive design & quality manufacture the Onya range offers your customers a choice beyond drink bottles, to coffee cups, lunch wraps, bread bags & produce bags, to a range of certified compostable bin liners & dog waste bags. Help your customers reduce their single use plastic footprint with Onya products today.
Ayluna – Make Hair Happy
Tel: 01557 870 203
E-mail: [email protected]
A new and exciting plant-based hair dye range, Ayluna is now available in the UK. It is 100% certified organic by COSMOS, is vegan and halal. With easy-to-use instructions the herbal hair dye provides long-lasting results, even on greys. Ayluna hair dyes are kind to your hair because the plant-based herbal hair colour envelops every single hair strand like a protective wrapping, which has no impact on the natural hair structure, therefore keeping the hair in good condition and free from damage. It is also free from ammonia, peroxides, resorcinol, PEGs, scents and preservatives. Ayluna hair dye is available in a range of lively colours from vibrant blondes to dark browns and rich reds. RRP Starting at £12.75
Ben and Anna Toothpaste Tablets with Fluoride
Ben & Anna’s travel friendly toothpaste tablets are made with the finest natural ingredients such as baking soda, coconut oil as well as acacia and mint plant extracts. These toothpaste tablets have additional fluoride to protect the tooth surface and prevent cavities, as well as a dose of vitamin B12 to prevent deficiency, to ensure a healthy smile. This ever popular vegan brand sources the best options for eco-friendly packaging to ensure they are doing their part to cut down on waste. RRP: £8.95
Fair Squared Olive Facial Soap
The Fair Squared Olive Facial Soap is a gentle, everyday cleansing soap for all skin types that will wash away your day. Its creamy formula is rich in vitamin E and includes Fairtrade ingredients such as olive oil, shea butter and coconut oil to help keep the skin clean, moisturised, supple, and smooth. This Olive face soap is palm oil free, perfume free, certified vegan and comes in 100% plastic free packaging and is one of many products from a whole zero waste range. RRP £11.45
NEW Eco Friendly Shampoo and Body Bars from lavera
lavera have just launched the new and exciting eco friendly Shampoo and Body Bars in the Basis Sensitiv range. The innovative formula with organic aloe vera, quinoa and plant based tensides creates a smooth, gentle cleansing lather that is caring and moisturising to the hair, scalp and body. These solid Shampoo and Body Bars are free from silicones, SLS, parabens and mineral oils, the formula is vegan friendly and the packaging contains 0% plastic. The cardboard packaging is made from 100% recycled fibres to give you the great feeling and make the world a little better every time your wash.
Eco-living is making small swaps and positive changes to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Truthpaste is just one way to turn a good intention into a good habit. Harnessing the power of nature, each jar is packed with a unique blend of organic essential oils, picked for their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Cruelty-free, SLS and palm oil free, and zero-waste. With a jar lasting over 3 months, it works out at just under 10p a day. Eco-living doesn’t have to cost the earth.
Weleda’s Aroma Showers
Weleda is excited to introduce its AROMA SHOWERS: Love, Harmony, Energy and Relax. This new collection expands Weleda’s award-winning shower range, with an emphasis on their unique natural fragrances and the moods they inspire – something that Weleda has developed over the past century with the skilled perfumers in the company’s in-house fragrance team. The new AROMA SHOWERS celebrate 100 years of expertise in natural fragrance, in Weleda’s Centenary year. The four biodegradable formulations, made with eco-friendly plant-based cleansers, will launch in vibrant packaging with stronger messaging regarding the essential oil fragrances and their proven aromatherapeutic benefits. Suitable for Vegans.
The contemporary version of a centuries-old Swiss tradition. The pillow is filled with cherry stones and can easily and quickly be heated in the microwave. Radiating heavenly warmth for hours. The pillow shapes itself to the body and spreads its heat evenly and never gets colder than body temperature. Place the pillow by your feet in bed, on your stomach to relieve stomach cramps, or around your neck if you are feeling stressed. Perfect if cooled in the fridge for easing migraines or puffy hay fever eyes, or simply to cool your bed on hot evenings. BSI & FSC certified with organic cotton cover. Available from your usual wholesaler.