Byron Bay plastics reduction startup Zero Co has turned its attention to what’s under the kitchen sink to what’s in the bathroom vanity, launching the world’s first refillable and single-use plastic (SUP)-free shampoo, conditioner, lotion and other body products.
Zero Co founder Mike Smith said the beauty industry is a significant contributor to Australia’s plastic problem with around 180 million bottles of haircare, deodorant and skincare bought from supermarkets annually, and only 15% of it recycled.
The roll out of the body products comes six months after the sustainability startup, which launched in November 2020, raised $11 million from crowdfunding and venture capital.
The new range expands Zero Co’s line up to 14 personal-care and home-cleaning products, including two newly released fragrances of hand wash and body wash.
“We hope that by delivering our products carbon negative with the option to subscribe and ensuring their efficacy rivals with supermarket competitors, we can convince everyday Aussies that it is actually really easy to make the switch and start taking small steps towards big change,” Smith said.
“Our community has demonstrated the significant impact that individuals can have on a massive, global problem. Thanks to their support, in the last year and a half, we have removed the equivalent of 803,083 water bottles worth of rubbish from oceans and beaches by funding clean ups around Australia.”
Meanwhile, Zero Co’s Pouch Recovery Machine is first-of-its-kind technology, developed to clean and sanitise used refill pouches returned by Zero Co customers (for free in a reply-paid envelope) for refilling.
Smith said Pouch Recovery Machine has meant the equivalent of nearly 800,000 water bottles hasn’t ended up in landfill.
“We need to move towards a circular economy and, by adopting habits or consuming brands that support this movement, you are actively choosing to protect our planet and minimise your footprint,” he said.
Zero Co’s new body range was developed with advice from Dr Kate Forbes, the former global head of product at Aesop, and are free from silicones, parabens and EDTA.
“It’s a brilliant concept and one that solves a significant challenge for the beauty industry, Dr Kate Forbes said.
“The innovative pouch cleaning solution that Zero Co has developed has allowed us to create these products in the liquid format that make it easy for our customers. It has been incredibly difficult, but the team have been persistent in creating products that leave no barrier to entry for the sake of planet-friendly.”
More on the new body range is available at zeroco.com.au/body-care.