New Zealand company Ethique has created solid-bar versions of many common beauty products, such as moisturiser, facial serum and deodorant. It’s now introducing its shampoo and conditioner ranges to Countdown’s shelves.
Ethique founder Brianne West says that by removing water from its formulations, Ethique takes credit for preventing the manufacture and disposal of more than five million plastic bottles in landfills. The social enterprise has a goal to reach 50 million bottles by 2025.
West says the biggest challenge in creating solid beauty bars, is getting people to realise that a shampoo or moisturiser bar delivers the same quality as brands in plastic bottles – you just need to adapt your shower routine a wee bit.
“Most of our bars are water activated, and well, there’s plenty of that in your bathroom,” says West.
“We are changing the behaviour of millions of people worldwide by simply getting them to rub a shampoo bar on their head, rather than squeeze liquid out of a plastic bottle – it’s really that simple.”
In a blog on Ethique’s website, West addressed the concerns of existing stockists. She assured the boutiques that Countdown would stock only a limited range, so shoppers would need to visit them for face, body, pet, baby and another 37 yet-to-be-launched products.
Countdown currently only stocks Ethique’s shampoo and conditioner ranges.
West says ridding the world of plastic bottles is her number one goal, and stocking supermarkets aligns with this: “To really make a difference, we need to be where the bulk of people are buying their personal care products. And in NZ, that’s in supermarkets, which capture over 40 percent of the personal care market and will grab more as they focus in on this area. The reality is that people just want to be able to buy everything they need in one trip. It’s why we’re stocked in Target in the States – it’s a one-stop-shop.”
While supermarkets are major users and sellers of single-use plastics, West says, they’re working with stakeholders across all industries to introduce change.
“If we were to partner with those organisations who were 100 percent alongside us with our values, we would never have grown as we have, nor had the impact we have had so far. I believe the fastest way to change a system is from within, not by shouting at it from the outside.”
Ethique launched into 840 stores in Holland & Barrett in the United Kingdom in July, and sold out in 48 hours with a waiting list of 55,000 people for products. The brand is now available in more than 14 countries, including Japan, Taiwan, the US and Australia.
Countdown general manager of corporate affairs, safety and sustainability Kiri Hannifin says, “We’re really proud to have a brand like Ethique available in our stores. More and more, our customers are looking for alternatives that are better for the planet and having products like this on our shelves gives them that option.
“Countdown has a clear focus on reducing plastic and packaging from across our business. We’ve phased out single-use plastic bags, we no longer sell packs of single-use plastic straws and we’ve removed more than 117 tonnes of plastic from our produce section. Supporting suppliers who are making similar changes is a no brainer!”