I Tested Out Grove's Plastic-Free Cleaning Supplies—and I'm Never Looking Back
The line could save over 25 tons of plastic from winding up in landfills in 2021.
During the pandemic, I have gotten into a bad habit of buying hand soap in disposable plastic containers. And considering all of the incessant hand-washing in recent months, I was flying through soap, tossing container after container into the recycling bin. So when Grove Collaborative (the company behind one of my all-time-favorite cleaning sprays) revealed that it was creating a plastic-free line of cleaning supplies, I jumped at the chance to give it a try.
To buy: Foaming Hand Soap & Dish Soap Refills, $8, grove.co.
The new plastic-free system works by providing reusable glass pumps for hand soap and spray bottles for cleaning solution. All of the refills arrive in glass or aluminum containers, with some, like the tile cleaner and foaming hand soap, arriving as concentrates that get diluted in water. By providing as many cleaners in concentrate form as possible, Grove cuts down on the amount of packaging needed, while making the delivery significantly lighter. All you have to do is pour the tiny concentrate bottle (sized like a mini airplane bottle of liquor) into the dispenser, then top it off with water to the fill line. This 10-second process somehow makes me feel like I'm concocting my own DIY cleaning solutions, when in reality I'm just adding water to a soap dispenser.
Always a little skeptical about whether supposedly eco-friendly products are actually "greener"—especially when I'm weighing the carbon footprint of walking to the store versus having something shipped—I dug into the reasoning behind the line. One factoid caught my eye: while plastic can only be recycled a couple times, glass and aluminum can be recycled an infinite number of times. By ditching the plastic container in favor of aluminum, the company is switching to an endlessly recyclable material. The result: less plastic in the landfill.
With my old wasteful habits, I would be throwing away a plastic container each time I ran out of hand soap. Now, each aluminum bottle of foaming hand soap concentrate translates to three refills. I'm throwing away a container one-third as often, and that container is infinitely recyclable. With the new line in place, Grove is working towards becoming 100 percent plastic-free by 2025.
And as far as the cleansers themselves? Grove had already won me over with the hard-working cleaning concentrates in amazing scents. The Lemon, Eucalyptus & Mint scent is exactly how I want my cleaning products to smell, fresh and subtle, while the scent-free options are just that, completely unscented. No synthetic fragrances here—the products get their aroma from essentials oils. I had never quite realized how the harsh smell of chemical cleaners prolonged my cleaning procrastination, but with these products, cleaning feels like less of a chore. Don't get me wrong, of course I still procrastinate on cleaning the bathroom, but at least this chore smells much more pleasant once I finally get around to it.