Did you know Australians are set to discard 356 million plastic bottles from bathrooms each year? And from that, only 9% of those bottles will ever be recycled. A brand is working hard to change this – New Zealand born brand Ethique. It’s the world’s first ever zero plastic, zero waste personal care brand which has already saved the planet from 3.3 million plastic bottles, and is on a global mission to take that number 50 million by the end of 2025. Starting a movement and encouraging people to #giveupthebottle, Ethique is driving the sustainability message by producing a unique range of zero-waste, 100% solid beauty bars. These bars are made exclusively from naturally-derived, sustainably-sourced and biodegradable ingredients. All packaging is compostable, ensuring that it leaves no bottles, jars, lids or pump dispensers to throw away. Even better, each bar lasts up to five times longer than your average bottled beauty products! Ethique Founder and CEO, Brianne West, shares her story with The Carousel.
From the humble beginnings of my kitchen in my home in Christchurch nearly seven years ago, it’s amazing to think that Ethique is now ranked as one of New Zealand’s hottest new lifestyle brands. As the largest plastic-free beauty brand, we hope to share our sustainability message throughout Australia to cut down the number of single-use plastic bottles households use daily.
During my time at university, I taught myself cosmetic chemistry from scratch, conducting research into what each ingredient in beauty products does, and how to build a product from the ground up. It was from this that Ethique was born. It was a combination of my passion for the environment, knowledge of cosmetic chemistry – and the waste the industry creates – and the desire to create a business that had far more at its core than just making profit. After fabulous feedback from my guinea pigs (human ones of course), I branched out into conditioners, then started replacing everything in my bathroom with solid versions.
Ethique grew steadily for a couple of years, then bam! We began being featured in the media and soon enough Ethique was being covered by press all around the world. My mission with Ethique is simple – inspire brands to rethink how they sell and package their products and encourage consumers to question if they really need liquid body wash and shampoo. Packaging wastage is huge in the beauty industry, so I wanted to develop packaging that would allow my company to be 100 per cent zero waste and zero plastic. That is why our bars come wrapped in compostable boxes – they are free from chlorine, laminates and plastic coatings and are printed with vegetable inks. They are made with FSC cardboard, sourced from New Zealand sustainably managed forests.
It’s been surreal to see Ethique go from strength to strength since our debut in 2012, with celebrities like Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher using our products, being made available in over 14 countries and now being sold in retail chains around the world. It’s been my goal to make sustainable choices easier and I’m hopeful that Ethique’s success will continue to challenge the international cosmetics industry to change. We have been touted by Google as an emerging leader in sustainable business, and we have saved over three million plastic bottles to date. Our goal is to save another six million expected by the end of 2019!
Our launch into Japan earlier this year has kicked off our huge year of exciting projects. We are entering close to 2,000 retail stores in the United Kingdom, Hungary, Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Poland. With roughly 500 more stores in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong looking to stock Ethique bars by the end of 2019. We are on a global mission to save the planet from 50 million bottles by the end of 2025!