What is refillable shampoo?

Everything you need to know about this green initiative that will help reduce plastic waste.

Young woman refilling shower gel / body wash into a reusable glass bottle in zero waste store. Shopping eco friendly personal skincare products. Zero waste concept. Creating a plastic free planet.

by Piper Huxley |

Refillable shampoo is filling up the market and we’re right behind this new way to shop. Zero-waste and refill shopping is on the rise in the UK. Where there was once a Woolworths, a little shop with a lot of character appears, filling its gilt shelves with plant-based tins and glass dispensers with cereal inside. There are non-foods, too, like those massive Faith in Nature 5L bottles. So, what is refillable shampoo? Is this refill trend going to stick?

How much plastic waste are we producing?

Though it is estimated that 1.2 Mt (megatonnes) of the UK’s plastic was recycled in 2020, there is still a long way to go. As plastic cannot often decompose, it can cause problems for the natural environment, including polluting soils, rivers and oceans.

Supermarkets, specifically, make up a great amount of the plastic waste that we have in the UK (900,000 tonnes if you were wondering). So, refill shops are taking the opportunity to reduce waste, saving one turtle at a time.

Related: Eco-friendly cleaning products to help keep you and the planet healthy

Although small, these independent shops have a powerful impact on the market. Their sudden appearance, alongside the popularisation of the zero-waste movement online, has forced supermarkets and brands to adapt and go green, thus making zero-waste living more accessible. Hence, refillable shampoo has entered the market.

We’re seeing things like vegan clothing and eco-friendly apparel arrive on the high street, too.

Though this way of shopping isn’t practical or accessible to everyone, starting to make sustainable choices, that suit you and your budget, will mean that you’re doing your bit to prevent plastic waste. So, if you can make a small change to your shopping list, we’ve put together a list of brands to save you some time researching refillable shampoo.

Related: The best vegetarian sausages: whether you're meat-free or flexitarian

These are some of our favourite refillable shampoos (and conditioners) available right now, including the high-street shops and big brands that are taking part in this green initiative. Just bottle up the shampoo and conditioner yourself, and then you're saving landfills from those pesky single-use bottles. It's for the good of the planet.

The best zero-waste and refillable shampoos and conditioners

The Bower Collective

The Bower Collective is a UK-based company that supplies plastic-free household products. From bathroom to kitchen and laundry, its ethos is to build a more sustainable future. Every Bower order arrives with a pre-paid envelope so that you can return your packaging for guaranteed recycling. We love all of its refill range.

Fiils

Fiils believe "you are only as pretty as your planet", which is why sustainability is a must when it comes to its beauty products. As the brand says: there's no need to sacrifice your style to do your bit. We love that. Fiils is committed to making the world reuse and re-fill, and avoid any unnecessary single-use plastics.

First, order a starter kit that comes with bottles and pouches of shampoo and conditioner. Bottle your beauty products up and post back the empty refill pouches to Fiils. Postage is already paid for. You can buy the refills separately.

Here are some of its Hair Care starter kits.

Related: The Hand Wash Kit and The Body Wash Kit

Faith in Nature

Putting nature first since 1974, Faith in Nature is a great brand if you're interested in vegan and environmentally-conscious health and beauty. Its ethos includes a firm no to plastics (as it says "enough, already"), encouraging refills ("bulk is beautiful"), a closed-loop (it wants the bottles returned) and zero waste.

Faith in Nature likes to "think global and act local" with its products being made just outside of Manchester. It has crunched the numbers and is constantly calculating the brand's global and environmental impact. Its eco-awareness is very impressive, plus, every order plants a tree.

Faith in Nature is right: Nature is boss. Check out some of its range below.

Don't forget to buy a pump for your dispenser.

The Body Shop

Join the refill revolution with The Body Shop's irresistible in-store refill stations. This high-street chain is rolling out refill stations and plans to have 159 UK stores and 500 globally by the end of 2022. How do you take part in its refill scheme? Well...

Pick up one of the refill bottles at a selected store.

Ask a member of The Body Shop team to fill it up with your favourite refillable haircare.

Once you’ve used it up, give your bottle a good rinse and dry, bring it back and refill it.

The Body Shop is always expanding its line-up so you can fill up on hair care, shower gels and hand-washes from its best-loved ranges. Product availability varies by store, though.

In the meantime, here are some of our favourite shampoos from The Body Shop:

Procter and Gamble

With the emergence and popularisation of smaller brands taking on this green initiative, consumer good company Procter and Gamble launched refillable options for its household names like Aussie, Head & Shoulders, Pantene and Herbal Essences. P&G rolled out the aluminium bottles and refill pouches for all four brands at Boots stores and on the Boots site in 2021, as well as Waitrose & Partners and Superdrug.

Here are some popular haircare brands with refill pouches on offer. Is your usual shampoo on this list?

Need a little inspiration for your refill bottles?

Etsy might have the answer.

Needing some refillable shower gel?

Original Source shower gel is going refillable in Tesco, making it easier for people to cut plastic consumption.

They are launching a new refillable bottle and range of shower gel refills in Tesco, making it easier than ever for everyone to make the switch to more sustainable shower experiences.

Now that’s a step in the right direction!

Each refill comes in a 1l pouch, which uses 85% less plastic. Not only do the refills help with plastic reduction, but they help save more money per ml compared to the wider Original Source range. Brilliant.

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