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Seven brands helping you to ditch single-use plastic

By Mikaela Fowler

There’s no doubt the coronavirus pandemic forced many of us to change our habits during lockdown.

We worked from home, dined out less, shopped more, and upped our intake of takeaway meals, ‘quarantinis’ and coffee and, in turn, upped our use of single-use plastic containers.

According to the 2020 National Waste Report, released in November, Australians produced an estimated 74.1 million tonnes of waste in 2018-2019. While a majority of this included waste from the construction and demolition and commercial and industrial sectors, a whopping 2.5 million tonnes was plastic waste – that’s 101 kilograms per person.

Slightly less than 13 per cent was recycled and about 85 per cent of discarded plastic was sent to landfills.

Plastic-free swaps need not be complicated. Photo: iStock

While the data gathered is pre-pandemic, the report notes that some waste management facilities saw a significant increase in household waste quantities throughout 2020.

The use of single-use plastics during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was born out of hygiene and safety concerns, but as we start to gain control of the virus in Australia, we can get back to helping to minimise our waste production through more thoughtful consumption.

Many of us have a stockpile of lotions and potions all packaged in plastic stashed in our kitchen and bathroom cupboards, but it doesn’t have to stay that way, as more great Australian businesses create innovative products to help us ditch single-use plastics.

Zero Co

Zero Co is encouraging people to ditch single-use plastics. Photo: Zero Co

Founded in April 2019 by husband and wife team Mike Smith and Alyssa Carter, Zero Co is urging people to “join the great Aussie plastic purge”, which aims to stop a million single-use plastic bottles from ending up in landfill over the next year.

It’s a simple concept that will save you countless trips to the supermarket – and your hard-earned cash – and will also help to save the planet.

Empty dispensers, made from plastic waste pulled from the ocean, are delivered with refill pouches filled with everything you need for the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. Simply empty the refill pouches into the dispensers and send the pouches back to Zero Co (in the free-post bag supplied). The refill pouches will be sent back to you on your next delivery.

Dispensers and refill pouches are colour-coded (in stylish muted tones you’d be proud to show off in your home) so there’s no confusion as to which liquid belongs in each bottle.

Starter kits are $149 and come packed with hand wash, body wash, dishwashing liquid and dishwasher tablets, laundry liquid, shower cleaner and toilet cleaner, air freshener and stain remover, with enough to last two-to-three months for an average four-person household.


Cove uses aluminium bottles for its refill-and-reuse cleaning system. Photo: Cove

Cove, a family-owned business based in Melbourne’s Ferntree Gully, works in a similar way to Zero Co – the refill and reuse method – but instead uses heavy-duty aluminium bottles; they’re not designed to be thrown out but their recycle rate is much higher than plastics.

The refill pouches contain a concentrated plant-based cleaning formula. Pour into the aluminium dispenser and top up with tap water and you have an effective and natural cleaning product for use around the home.

The $49.95 starter kit has laundry liquid, all-purpose surface spray, glass and window cleaner and shower and bathroom cleaner. Cove also sells dishwasher tablets and reusable microfiber cloths.


A simple lettering system means you won’t mix your shampoo bar with your face wash bar. Photo: NueBar

Founded by naturopath Katie Hennah and her partner, creative director Kerry Wood, NueBar specialises in creating salon-quality hair, face and body bars that are palm-oil-free, pH-balanced and gentle on your skin.

Their mission to create luxurious artisan products is just as important as their desire to embrace sustainability and plastic-free packaging.

Not only are the award-winning bars packaged in recycled, composible materials printed with soy-based inks, the business donates 10 per cent of its profits to Tangaroa Blue, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to removing plastic waste from our oceans.

Hair, face and body bars range in price from $16 to $23. Travel tins, drainers and a ‘bits bag’ are also available to prolong the life of your beauty bar.


Score popular items with a Kappi bundle pack. Photo: Kappi

Watching an episode of ABC’s War on Waste was the catalyst for husband and wife team Fred and Em to start Kappi, an online hub selling stylish, plastic-free products for the home.

Think about how much waste you send to landfill by using cheap, disposable plastic razors, one-time-use makeup wipes and disposable nappies – it’s a lot. But making a simple swap can make a huge difference.

Kappi sells matte gold, rose gold and black reusable safety razors for $59.95, reusable cloth nappies for $34.95, and machine-washable organic bamboo and cotton makeup remover pads for $19.95.

Opt for bundle packs to ensure you snag some of the most popular items, including reusable ziplock bags and silicone stretch lids.


Asuvi natural deodorants come in a range of unisex scents. Photo: Asuvi

Thomas Richard started on the journey to Asuvi in the summer of 2015. He’s now developed a natural and reusable deodorant, free of plastic packaging.

Reusable deodorant might sound a bit … on the nose, but it’s a biodegradable refill system designed to avoid waste and help the planet.

You get a recycled plastic tube of aluminium-free deodorant and can order your biodegradable refill tubes when you’re running low. Simply pop the refill tube in the plastic tube and you’re ready to roll.

Choose from a range of scents including: Wandearah with notes of jasmine, rose and bergamot; Angophora with hints of geranium and musk; and Eloeura, with bergamot and cedarwood.

There’s even a subscription service and you can opt for automatic deliveries in your preferred time frame – between one and six months.

Go For Zero

Paper pens from Eco Pen Club contain 85 per cent less plastic than regular ballpoints. Photo: Eco Pen Club

Another hub to source all of your eco-friendly and plastic-free goods, Go For Zero has a range of products that are Australian made, vegan, organic and compostable.

They have everything you need to go plastic- and toxin-free in your kitchen, bathroom and laundry, as well as travel packs and waste-free camping essentials.

They also stock paper pens from Eco Pen Club – non-toxic, compostable and recyclable pens made from 85 per cent less plastic than your traditional ballpoint.

The Daily Routine

Pop in a pod, give it a shake, and your hand wash is ready to use. Photo: The Daily Routine

When environmentally-conscious best buds Nat and Ruby became housemates, the amount of plastic waste they produced as a two-person household left them dismayed and searching for ways to reduce their plastic consumption.

After seeing dishwashing pods used in the kitchen, the girls realised this same simple principle could be applied for use in the bathroom, and the idea for The Daily Routine was born.

Simply fill the stylish olive green reusable pump bottle with hot water, pop in a pod, give it a shake until the pod dissolves, and you have sweet-smelling hand wash. The pods’ outer biodegradable films are water-soluble and non-toxic.

The $29 starter kit includes a reusable pump bottle and three coconut-husk wash pods. Refill pods are $26 for a pack of $6 – that equals about $4 per bottle, so as well as doing your bit for the planet, you’re saving your hip pocket, too.


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