Single-use plastics make up 50 percent of the 300 million tons of plastics produced every year — that’s equivalent to the weight to the entire human population. These plastics can end up dumped into oceans — at a rate of a garbage truck per minute! — and endanger the lives of wildlife such as whales, dolphins, birds, and fish. 😢
The nonprofit Plastic Oceans has a helpful list of nine things you can do to help, including giving up plastic straws, shopping with reusable bags, drinking from reusable bottles or mugs, and passing on beauty products that contain plastic microbeads.
We’ve also got an idea in the floss department: Instead of buying an entirely new container of Cocofloss every time you run out of your favorite fragrance, just refill your current dispenser! You can also go eco with your CocoBox subscription and choose refills to be automatically delivered to you every six months. Our refills ship in compostable packaging and make it easy to be green and keep your smile sparkling clean.
We all care about the environment, and yet it’s easy to fall into the routine of just picking up a new plastic bottle of shampoo or tube of lipstick at the store. Afterall, most of us grew up with this mindset.
But it only takes a few small changes to help us shift our thinking in a way that’s more tender toward our precious planet. Lots of beauty-boosting products we use everyday are refillable. There may even be a grocery near you that embraces zero waste.
Here are five more ideas for products you could refill for a greener, cleaner self-care routine:
The latest trend in luxury makeup isn’t a daring shade of lipstick or blue nails, it’s using refillable products — beautiful news for Mother Earth. Refinery29 reports that “if you buy a refill instead of a completely new product, you save 70% on CO2, 65% on energy and 45% on water, according to research conducted by The LCA Centre.”
These days, refills are available for everything from high-end eyeshadow, eye liner, and mascara — such as those created by Danish-born makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis or celebrity makeup pro Troy Surratt — to lipsticks, like the intense, creamy colors in stiletto-style applicators made by Hourglass.
Many refillable makeup containers use a magnetic system, allowing you to easily change out your palette to fit the season (and your mood). The Make Up For Ever line sold by our retail partner Sephora is one example. Other brands, including those listed on the blog Treehugger, emphasize refills along with organic, non-toxic ingredients, or even zero-waste packaging.
Environmentally conscious makeup brands tend to have a higher price point, but these companies are paving the way for cheaper options you might soon find at your drugstore. L’Oréal has pledged to use 100 percent reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging by 2025 as part of the New Plastics Economy initiative led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Until then, it’s worth it to spend a little more up front on refillable beauty-product brands that don’t sacrifice the beauty of our planet.
Got a signature scent? Whether it’s something you’ve been wearing since seventh grade (hello, Anaïs Anaïs) or a new discovery, the perfume you choose can say a lot about you. But what do all those pretty empty bottles say other than “dust me”? Unfortunately, it’s often not clear whether they can be recycled due to the kind of glass they’re made of and the chemical residues they contain.
Instead, when you splurge on your next scent, consider buying a brand that can be refilled. More than 20 years ago, Thierry Mugler, who created the unmistakable Angel perfume, pioneered refill fountains for his fragrances. Now Louis Vuitton, Viktor & Rolf, and Guerlain will also top up their perfume bottles in select boutiques. Sometimes refilling can even save you money: Le Labo, which makes the rugged, woodsy scent Santal 33, will refill your bottle for a 20 percent discount.
The controversy around aluminum in antiperspirants may be infamous, but fewer folks are aware of other toxins in deodorants. Among the worst offenders is triclosan — an antimicrobial agent linked to antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption in both humans and marine life. Now that stinks!
Also odious is the fact that it can be very tricky to recycle deodorant containers because their parts are comprised of many different polymers. Put them in your curbside bin, and they could contaminate a whole load of recyclables.
So what’s an earth-conscious armpit owner to do? Myro deodorant comes free of nasty chemicals and of recycling headaches. Its plant-powered formula comes in refillable tubes and won a Refinery29 Beauty Innovator Award in 2019. By Humankind also offers a sleekly packaged, refillable option in scents such as lavender-citrus or rosemary-mint. Smells much better than Teen Spirit.
Pssst — are you a serial shampoo discarder? Do you buy one bottle and then when its promises of perfect tresses fall through, move it half-full to a hidden cabinet where it languishes until you eventually go on a Marie Kondo cleaning spree? The truth is, few things that “spark joy” come in a bottle … except maybe champagne.
Unfortunately, all those plastic bottles are also part of the world’s pollution problem, especially since they may not get recycled, even if you put them in the proper bin. China used to accept most of America’s recyclables, but since 2018, the country is no longer accepting most plastics.This means they often end up in the city dump.
A better solution is to refill your bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. New refill shops where body products are often sold by the ounce are popping up all over the U.S. If you don’t have that option nearby, online options such as Refill Revolution, out of Boulder, CO, will ship bulk body products to you in “easy-to-use spouted pouches,” and then provide prepaid shipping for you to return the pouch.
Better yet, skip the bottles in the first place. Bars of soap have a much smaller carbon footprint, as does most any bath product that eliminates water from its formula, since all that heavy H20 takes a lot of energy to ship. Instead, check out shampoo bars and pressed conditioners, like those sold by Lush, which look like cute French macarons, or the Coconut Water and Mimosa Flower Shampoo + Conditioner Bar by Love Beauty and Planet.
Sure, their bright candy colors are pretty. But disposable plastic razors have an ugly environmental impact, with billions of unrecyclable razor handles already clogging landfills — and the bellies of seabirds. The EPA once estimated 2 billion razors are thrown away each year!
Some happier news: Gillette and TerraCycle have partnered on a nationwide razor recycling program that collects single-use plastic razors and upcycles them into picnic tables and park benches. You can mail in your hairy collection or locate a recycling drop-off box near you for the razors and packaging.
Safety razors are even more sustainable, with their durable wood or metal handles and recyclable stainless-steel blades that you can refill as needed. Vogue’s pick: The gorgeous Oui Rose Gold Razor Set. For gents, we recommend the elegant Rockwell 6C Razor. It's made with a metal alloy to last for decades and comes with recyclable, double-sided Swedish stainless steel razor blades.
Small, simple choices add up big time for the environment. 🌎 🙌 Our eco-friendly refillable spools can be set on automatic replay with your customized CocoBox. Or choose a 3-pack of refills in your favorite fragrance to pop into your current Cocofloss dispenser. Keep your smile sparkling clean and the planet green!