PLASTIC FREE HOME: Do environmentally friendly deodorants come up smelling of roses?

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Plastic free deodorant
Which is the best deodorant that can also help with a plastic-free life? Picture: Dave Lamont
David Lamont
David Lamont

A few bits of local news before I get into this week’s article… 

A big thank you to Councillor Daniel Hinton for inviting me to be one of three speakers at an event at Wokingham Town Hall on Wednesday last week.

It is fantastic to see both the Borough and Town Councils, and Council Leader Cllr John Halsall, putting environmental issues at the heart of their agendas.

It’s also great to see the excellent ongoing work of Twyford Together and Trip, working very closely with local businesses.

Finally, I was fortunate to witness last week’s climate change march and protest in Reading and I was blown away by both the turnout and the passion shown by those who got involved.

The deodorant market

In 2018, the worldwide deodorant market was estimated to be worth an incredible £60 billion ($73 billion) and 79% of people in the UK include a deodorant in their weekly shop. Leading names range from Dove, L’Oreal and Nivea to Lynx, Sure and supermarket own brands.

What are the problems with traditional deodorant brands?

Increasingly popular roll on deodorants are normally sold in plastic packaging and due to the mixed materials used in the product, they are notoriously difficult to recycle. As such, many roll-on deodorants will be heading for landfill on an incinerator. 

For aerosol sprays, primarily made from aluminium, to be easily recyclable, they must be completely empty and clean. Not a given meaning that many won’t be recycled. They also use compressed gases that are harmful environmentally.

Compressed aerosol deodorants have been shown to be less environmentally damaging, reducing the product’s carbon footprint by up to 25%. Manufacturers claim that these compressed aerosols use half the amount of gas, and come in smaller containers meaning that less aluminium is needed, but will last for the same period of time.

Whatever guise your big brand deodorant comes in, the problems also lie on the inside. Many leading brands can contain at least some of these chemicals:

  • Aluminium compounds
  • Parabens 
  • Steareths
  • Triclosan
  • Propylene Glycol
  • TEA and DEA
  • Artificial colourings

Palm oil and other environmentally harmful ingredients are also widely used.

Plastic-free and environmentally friendly deodorant – the options

We tried and tested three plastic-free and environmentally friendly deodorant brands, to see how they compare:

Earth Conscious deodorant 

Made: Isle of Wight, UK

Packaging: Cardboard tube that is recyclable and biodegradable or an aluminium tin that is recyclable. Plastic free.

Ingredients: Made from natural, almost entirely organic, ingredients, with no Parabens or aluminium traces and palm oil free.

Fragrances: Six varieties including an unscented option.

Price: £7.00 (60g stick or tin)

Other: 10p from every sale is donated to the Marine Conservation Society in the UK. Vegan approved and endorsed by the Naturewatch Foundation and Soil Association.

Our rating: 9/10

Science Natural Skincare deodorant

Made: Cornwall, UK

Packaging: Cardboard tube that is biodegradable and compostable. Plastic free.

Ingredients: Made from natural, almost entirely organic, ingredients, with no Parabens or aluminium traces and palm oil free. 

Fragrances: Seven varieties.

Price: £12.00 (70g stick)

Other: Vegan approved and cruelty free.

Our rating: 8/10

Fit Pit (by The Green Woman) deodorant

Made: Shropshire and Oxfordshire, UK

Packaging: Recyclable glass jar and aluminium lid. Fit Pit will give you up to 30p for every jar returned. 

Ingredients: Made from 100% natural, organic, ingredients, with no Parabens or aluminium traces and palm oil free. 

Fragrances: Three varieties.

Price: £10 (100ml jar)

Other: Vegan approved and cruelty free.

Our rating: 8/10

The verdict – the best plastic-free and environmentally friendly deodorant? 

We would happily recommend Earth Conscious, Science Natural Skincare and Fit Pit.

All are British made, genuinely environmentally friendly and well thought through products. And all are naturally derived and free of palm oil and harmful chemicals.

We found that all of the options lasted for up to four to six weeks and performed well during hot weather. In fact, better than many leading brands!

We didn’t really have a preference between the different textures found in the tubes, tin and jar.

All were easy to use and smelled subtly and nice. 

Earth Conscious just edges it. It provides its products in either a tube or tin, catering to different tastes, and at just £7 is by far the cheapest option.

Price is such a critical factor if products like these are to become mainstream and unfortunately, for most, £10 or more is just too much for a deodorant when big brand alternatives may be available for £1 and under.

For more tips and advice, join the online group at www.facebook.com/plasticfreehomeuk
or log on to www.theplasticfreehome.com 

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