If you’ve made a resolution to be greener this year, one of the best places to start is your bathroom. While many of us have switched to a bamboo toothbrush and bought some silk dental floss - most toothpaste tubes aren’t eco-friendly.
A whopping 1.5 billion of them end up in landfill every year, and though companies like Terracycle have an oral care recycling scheme, unless you have a drop-off point near you, it’s not always the most convenient solution.
Toothpaste tablets are another great green option, but many brands don’t contain fluoride, which is important for fighting cavities and decay.
One company may have come up with the whole package. UK dental brand Happier Beauty have developed the world’s first refillable toothpaste dispenser.
The dispenser, which will hit the market in spring 2022, was developed thanks to a Smart Innovate Grant of £150,000 (€179,000).
The company already has its own brand of 100 per cent recyclable toothpaste, which comes in an aluminium tube with a plastic lid (that can be sent back for reuse) and is also vegan and cruelty free. But they wanted to create a more circular solution to reduce their carbon footprint even further.
How does the refillable dispenser work?
It might sound like something dreamed up by dentistry’s Willy Wonka, but it’s pretty simple really.
Made of aluminium and 50 per cent recycled plastic, the toothpaste dispenser works like a traditional toothpaste pump and can be used again and again - just give it a wash before you refill.
The refill capsules, which can be delivered to your home via a subscription service, are zero waste too. Each capsule is biodegradable so it can be added to your green waste bin or compost heap.
While the price point hasn’t been released yet, two tubes of 100 per cent recyclable toothpaste will set you back £22 (€26) - so it is likely to be higher than your usual toothpaste brand. But for those who can afford it, it’s a great way to cut down on single-use plastic.
“It is becoming clear that recycling will not save us from the climate crisis, and so Happier Beauty wanted to take it one step further by creating a truly circular refillable and reusable solution,” says Faye Wilson, Founder of Happier Beauty.
“We are so excited to be the world’s first toothpaste company to bring a refillable toothpaste dispenser to market. Refills are becoming more popular across food and beauty so why not dental care? Toothpaste is a product we all use twice a day but innovation in this market has been pretty slow up until now.”
What else can I refill in my bathroom?
The refill revolution doesn’t need to stop at your toothpaste though. There are lots of other beauty brands to turn to if you’re hoping to make your morning routine more eco-friendly in 2022. Here are a few of our favourites.
All of their liquid soaps, sanitisers and shower gels come in refill bags, so you can decant them into your own dispensers. And each parcel comes with a prepaid envelope too, so you can send back the packaging to be recycled.
If you’re looking for an alternative to endless plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles, Ethique may be the eco-beauty brand for you.
Founded by Brianne West, who started making solid bars in her New Zealand kitchen back in 2012, Ethique is now a global brand with glowing reviews from celebrities like Britney Spears.
The company sells a range of plastic-free shampoo and conditioner bars, alongside body washes and lip balms.
One of our journalists put Ethique's range to the test in Greenland. She had this to say:
"I've got long, curly/wavy hair and am deeply sceptical about any solid shampoo or conditioner bars - but these are the real deal! They lightened my load considerably and worked brilliantly - even though I was spending most days out in sand and dirt, surrounded by racing cars.
"I also put their skincare range to the test as well. I'd never tried a solid moisturiser or cleanser before - but again was pleasantly surprised! Both worked really well - my only issue was remembering what was what when I removed the packaging.
"I really recommend getting in touch with Ethique's customer care team if you have specific needs or requirements. They are absolutely brilliant and helped me put together a pack of products perfect for my needs."
They have strong eco-credentials beyond their product line too. They plant a tree for every order made and donate 2 per cent of their profits to charity.