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  • This is shampoo made with seaweed, lemon, and sea salt, and no packaging at all.

  • Zero-waste products like these are supposed to reduce trash.

  • We've saved literally millions of packages from landfill, and that's really important to me.

  • But there are still billions of bottles that end up in landfills and on beaches every year.

  • So, can recipes like this really help cut worldwide waste?

  • We went to factories in Vancouver and Tasmania to find out.

  • At Beauty and the Bees in Tasmania, a mix of oils and melted beeswax are the first ingredients in a shampoo bar.

  • We've never used any plastic packaging, ever; we use only paper, tin, glass, or wood.

  • Jill Saunders started Beauty and the Bees 30 years ago.

  • Her products use only natural ingredients.

  • It's entirely chemical-free, and the suds are biodegradablethat's very important, too.

  • Clay from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco blended with castor oil makes the shampoo thick and foamy.

  • So, he [is] gonna pour.

  • Workers add Tasmanian leatherwood honey and lye.

  • Lye is an ancient ingredient that turns the mixture into soap for the hair.

  • The clay, oil, beeswax, and lye become a liquid shampoo that's then poured into a bin and wheeled into a drying room, where it sits for two days.

  • Then it's cut and packaged into biodegradable boxes.

  • Mass-produced shampoo often uses artificial foaming agents like sodium lauryl sulfate.

  • Those go down the drain and can end up in the oceans.

  • Saunders says that's partly why customers want to buy her bars, which break down safely in nature.

  • She sells 100,000 of them a year.

  • But that's still only a tiny fraction of the 2-billion-dollar shampoo market.

  • It's extremely hard to get people to understand shampoo bars.

  • People are beginning to understand, but it is still very fringe.

  • Fringe because mass-market shampoo in plastic bottles dominated store shelves and TV ads for decades.

  • A new shampoo with vitamins, minerals, protein, and a...

  • But experts say a growing number of consumers, especially millennials, now want to buy biodegradable beauty products.

  • This is something that we are seeing happen in the shampoo category where "how" matters, like how the product is made.

  • Lush Cosmetics scaled for mass production years ago, and now sells about 20 million dollars' worth of shampoo bars every year.

  • We have seen, really, a shift from customers, and more and more folks looking at how they can be more environmentally friendly in their own lives.

  • Lush showed us how they make one of their top-sellers, the Seanik shampoo bar.

  • This 12-disc lasts for 80 washes and replaces about three shampoo bottles.

  • Sea salt, lemon and orange flower oils, and two types of seaweed.

  • These are dried sheets of nori seaweed being fed into a paper shredder.

  • They're added right at the end.

  • The smell is quite strong; it'll remind you of sitting on the beach, hanging out by the ocean.

  • The same kind of food coloring used in M&M's makes it pop on the shelves and online.

  • Lush has sold 41 million of these Seanik bars since 2005.

  • That's equivalent to about one-fifth of all the shampoo bottles Americans buy in a year.

  • Multinational brands like Procter & Gamble and L'Oreal are also getting into the natural shampoo market.

  • We spoke to Sonika Malhotra, co-founder of Unilever's "Love Beauty & Planet" line that launched in 2018.

  • The shampoo bars sell in more than 40 countries and in retailers like Target and Walmart.

  • So we need to track technologies where we are able to find materials that, sort of, replicate all of these values, these properties that this material has.

  • And that's not easy.

  • Unilever shampoo bars are still niche compared to their legacy brands like Suave and Tresemme.

  • But the pressure to cut plastics is on.

  • In 2019, a Greenpeace campaign tagged manufacturers on widely circulated photos of trash,

  • and singled out Unilever as a major source of plastic garbage, along with Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Nestle.

  • Now we can pick up our smart devices and look, like, hey, what's the brand's opinion on this?

  • What does the brand do to limit waste?

  • Unilever signed a commitment to eliminate single-use packaging, but little progress has been made.

  • And plastics contribute to climate change.

  • They're made with fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases throughout their life cycle.

  • Many countries have banned certain types of plastic packaging.

  • When we think about real solutions, we have to look at systems' change.

  • And who is accountable for that?

  • It's corporations and industry.

  • Break Free From Plastic runs beach cleanups where volunteers tally up the trash associated with specific brands.

  • Break Free's global head of communications says all this plastic garbage won't go away with just shampoo bars.

  • These sorts of products are still putting the onus on individuals.

  • There is something really strong about wallet power.

  • But it is a drop in the bucket in terms of the solution to be focused on.

  • And small businesses like Jill's face obstacles to scaling up, like steep shipping costs and expensive ingredients.

  • Her bar costs three times as much as Unilever's.

  • Despite the challenges, Jill says her customer base is growing.

  • Business is getting better and better and better as a result of the zero-waste consciousness and people's awareness that biodegradability is very important.

  • So, the future looks extremely bright.

This is shampoo made with seaweed, lemon, and sea salt, and no packaging at all.

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Do Shampoo Bars Really Reduce Trash? | World Wide Waste

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    Jeff Chiao posted on 2022/03/22
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