Plastic-free bathroom treats you can easily recycle

Sali Hughes
·2 min read

British people are mostly onboard with kitchen recycling, but we’re less diligent in the bathroom, where, depressingly, about half our packaging gets chucked straight into the bin to end its days in landfill. Today, there are myriad more eco-responsible shampoos, conditioners, bath and shower gels – from luxury brands such as Aveda, Biolage and Davines to supermarket favourites such as Elvive and Garnier. The problem is that consumers, confused about labelling and correct recycling practices, panic-dispose.

Which is why I applaud top hairdresser George Northwood for launching his Undone haircare products in aluminium canisters. It’s an ideal material for the bathroom because, as well as being infinitely recyclable, aluminium is instantly identifiable as such: its opaque, silvery appearance sets it apart from the mishmash of bad, better and best plastics in the shower. (We instinctively know what to do with a baked bean tin, for example, so never dither.) Northwood’s lightweight containers look great, but crucially, the product inside is something I’ll use enthusiastically.

Undirty shampoo and conditioner (£12 each for 250ml, georgenorthwood.com), for everyday use on finer hair types (there are versions for dry or damaged hair, too), leave hair properly clean and bouncy, silken and smelling extraordinary. Not since Sam McKnight’s styling sprays has a new haircare brand passed so convincingly as expensive artisanal perfume.

Related: The best sustainably packaged skincare | Sali Hughes

Since we’re all pumping our way through handwash by the gallon, I was delighted to discover Kankan, which sells its range of botanical hand, baby and body washes in fizzy drink-style cans. Starter gift kits of an empty glass pump bottle, natural sponge and delicious-smelling gel refill cost £24, but since the world doesn’t need more pumps (the spring mechanism and tube of which aren’t easily divisible), I’ve been topping up my empties with the refill bundle (£40).

If you’re a soaker not a sprayer, you, too, can turn to aluminium. Molton Brown’s luxurious Coastal Cypress & Sea Fennel Bath Salts (£22, 300g) come in gift-worthy aluminium packaging. Meanwhile, the excellent Au Lait range (a personal favourite) from the Scottish Fine Soaps Company includes a delicious, skin-softening milk bath powder (£14.99 for a whopping 500g, scottishfinesoaps.com), packaged in a cute aluminium milk churn-style tin that can be recycled or reused as flour storage.