the unwash review
Written by Contributing Editor, Liz Grogan
The Dirt Company is on a mission to clean up the planet while cleaning your clothes. This small Australian team began working in 2013 to create a zero-waste laundry system using recycled and refillable products. With their Refill, Return System, customers replace bulky plastic jugs with sleek, durable glass dispenser bottles. The bottles come pre-filled with their top-rated, highly concentrated, plant-based laundry detergent. Their biodegradable concentrates deliver more loads per bottle and contain better-quality natural ingredients, such as high-performing enzymes.
When your bottles are empty, the Dirt Company sends you refill packs to restock your bottles. The empty packs are recollected, sanitized and reused. With thousands of customers already participating, the amount of waste prevented is remarkable. Customers have reused 40,218 refill packs, replaced 528,870 laundry jugs, and eliminated 80 tonnes of plastic.
“Heaps of excess packaging. Very well disguised cost per load. Very well hidden ingredients. This list went on. It was like the concept of sustainability had not yet hit the laundry aisle. I could do better I just knew it.” – Frankie Layton, The Dirt Company Founder
Frankie Layton, Founder of the Dirt Company, realized she wanted to start a sustainably-focused business when she was 18 and working as a stewardess on a boat. She witnessed a deckhand throwing bags of trash overboard into the ocean, and the experience got her thinking very hard about where our trash ends up. One day, while in the laundry aisle of her local supermarket, she found further inspiration to start her business.
Her team focuses on taking a less, but better, approach to product design by keeping plastic and packaging to a minimum. The refill packs use up to 90% less plastic per wash than the average laundry detergent bottle. When well-traveled refill packs lose their durability, they are melted and remolded into 100% recycled scoops for their machine wash. By remolding the refill packs, The Dirt Company comes very close to eliminating plastic waste completely.
Their team is proof that progress isn’t always linear. Since the company started, they replaced their original aluminum bottles with glass and experimented with different recycled materials for their refill packs. They are committed to sharing every step forward, and backward, with their customers as they continue to learn and experiment in the sustainability space. Beyond their efforts to avoid new plastic, they also allocate 50% of profits towards projects that focus on removing plastic waste from the planet. You can find every decision they make about their packaging and product on their blog – along with tips to tackle stains like a pro!
Hoping to aid people in ditching plastic travel bottles and plastic bags to keep things organized, Cadence offers magnetic refillable capsules. Whether used to keep your cabinets tidy or for travel, these capsules can store all your essentials in a carry-on-friendly size. The magnetic design ensures none of your products will go missing. Designed with longevity in mind to completely replace any single-use plastic used for storage or travel purposes, Cadence is meant to last for the long haul.
The brand’s simple product line offers three different toothpaste options, classic, whitening and sensitive. Before focuses on using naturally derived ingredients such as coconut oil, peppermint oil, and aloe extract to help fight cavities and provide flavoring. Before is cruelty-free and does not test on animals. The toothpaste is packaged in a plant-based sugar cane tube that creates 50% less carbon footprint than plastic packaging.
Guests on Earth
Guests on Earth is a planet-minded home cleaning company helping reduce plastic waste traditionally used with cleaning products. Providing transparency from where ingredients are sourced to where your product is being packaged, this brand is working to help consumers be more aware of the lifecycle of their purchases.