Refillable Cleaning Products Are a Sustainable Way to Tackle Messes
These products are a win for both the environment and your wallet. See how companies are rethinking the cleaning industry and its carbon footprint.
As many of us take steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle, it can be easy to overlook everyday products that shortly end up in a landfill or the ocean. One major culprit: Cleaning supplies. In grocery stores, almost every cleaning aisle item is single-use, which contributes to the 8 million metric tons of plastic that end up in the ocean every year, according to Ocean Conservancy.
Instead of ignoring the problem, some companies are offering solutions (literally). Refillable cleaning solution means you only have to buy one spray bottle or dispenser once. Then, each time you need more floor cleaner or hand soap, for example, you can order hyper-concentrated cleaners that mix with water when they reach your home. The refills save money on shipping (no high fees for heavy liquids!), reduce plastic waste, and, over time, save you money on buying single-use cleaning supplies.
Grove Collaborative is one company working to make sustainable cleaning products mainstream. Their products include refillable liquid soap dispensers, an auto-dosing laundry detergent dispenser, and refillable glass spray bottles. All cleaning detergent comes as a super-concentrated liquid that you empty into the bottles and combine with water. To reduce waste in shipping materials, there is a $20 minimum on your first order. After that, the minimum is $15 for VIP members and $30 for non-VIP members for "Ship Now" orders.
“Through Grove’s concentrates program to-date in 2019, 811 metric tons of CO2 emissions have been saved (by shipping the concentrated product versus ready-to-use solutions pre-diluted with water), not to mention saving customers trips to the store,” says a Grove Collaborative representative.
Refillable cleaning products help landfills, too. Grove Collaborative's concentrated liquid comes in a recyclable pouch that fosters 80 percent less waste than traditional plastic cleaning product bottles. Already this year, Grove products have saved 252,025 pounds of plastic from landfills.
Truman’s, a cleaning supplies company, also offers refillable cartridges of cleaning solution. Their four flagship products are an all-purpose kitchen cleaner, a floor cleaner, a shower cleaner, and a glass cleaner. All come in a reusable spray bottle, which the cartridges fit into. Refills are $3.75 each (shipping is always $1!) and available as a refill plan, so you’re never caught without cleaning supplies.
When you order Truman's starter kit with a refill plan, you save $4 on your initial order, which includes free shipping. Then, 45 days after you receive your starter kit, they'll ship you four refill cartridges of each cleaner. You'll receive refill kits every 6 months until you opt out or pause your subscription. All refill orders come in packs of four to reduce shipping waste.
Blueland, a direct-to-consumer cleaning supplies company, is taking a different approach to refillable cleaning products. The brand launched this year with a set of three cleaning products—bathroom, multi-surface, and glass and mirror. When your starter kit comes in the mail, you’ll receive three reusable acrylic spray bottles, labeled and color-coded, as well as packaged concentrated cleaner tablets. Drop a tablet into its corresponding 20-ounce bottle and fill with water. It will quickly dissolve into a powerful cleaner that lasts as long as most other cleaning agents of the same size.
“To date, most consumers have assumed (and rightly so) that eco-friendly products translate to an experience that means more work, more money for something that doesn’t work,” says Sarah Paiji Yoo, co-founder and CEO of Blueland. “We’ve flipped all these assumptions on their head.”
When your supply is running low, simply head to the Blueland website to order new tablets. The tablets are just $2 each, so you’ll cut your cleaning budget almost in half. “By selling just a tablet (instead of water and plastic packaging), we can offer it for a lower price than buying a full bottle of comparable cleaner,” says Paiji Yoo. Shipping costs vary by location but is free on all orders over $35.
Not only do these companies operate with the environment in mind, but the product designs are stylish as well. We much prefer the sleek look of glass and acrylic bottles to the bright neon colors of the cleaning aisle. A win for the environment and our home!