As the plastic crisis becomes harder to avoid, big brands are under increasing pressure to shift their practices towards sustainability. One of the latest brands to do so is Dove.
Looking to provide a better alternative to the single-use plastic deodorant stick, which ends up in a bin within months, the company designed a new deodorant that comes in a refillable stainless steel case.
The move comes after Unilever, the corporate giant that owns Dove, pledged in 2019 to cut its use of virgin plastic in half by 2025 and to begin moving away from single-use plastic, with a goal to shrink plastic packaging in absolute terms by 100,000 metric tons.
The new refillable deodorant doesn’t completely eliminate plastic since the inserts it uses for refill still use a small amount of plastic packaging. But the design uses 54 percent less plastic than the brand’s regular deodorant, and 98 percent of the plastic that it does use is recycled. The plan is to improve the design so it eventually doesn’t use plastic at all.
Other initiatives from Unilever to cut its plastic footprint include toothpaste tabs that avoid the need for a plastic tube as well as a cleaning spray that uses refillable cartridges instead of new bottles.
“As designers, we have a responsibility to see how we can do better,” said Sjoerd Hoijinck, design and innovation director at VanBerlo, the agency that worked with Unilever on the design. “We aim to enable a transition to circular business models with our clients, and refilling is becoming a part of that.”