Dove’s refill deodorant: Two birds with one stone?

Photo source: Josh Power

Dove’s refill deodorant: Two birds with one stone?

Thomas Reiner | 05.02.2021

Unilever’s new stainless steel refill solution not only halves the use of plastic, but also scores points for recycling via a closed metal cycle. The refillability also proves to be a trump card when it comes to the carbon footprint. Should we all multitrack now?


Climate and recycling benefits: The new deodorant stick in a stainless steel casing not only pays off in terms of the circular economy, but also in terms of the climate issue. The packaging uses a lot of material that can be recycled in closed cycles. At the same time, the packaging addresses the climate issue, because the refill principle also reduces the CO2 balance by reducing the amount of material used.

Refill and reduction of plastic
Lifetime instead of disposable: Whereas deodorants in plastic packaging used to disappear in the rubbish once used up, the refillable deodorant stick from Unilever’s personal care brand Dove is supposed to last a lifetime. For this purpose, the (durable) stainless steel casing is refilled with (exchangeable) inserts that snap into the casing. Dove gives a “Lifetime Guarantee” on the housing.

The new packaging does not completely dispense with plastic, as this cannot yet be completely replaced in the inserts. But Unilever says it achieves a plastic reduction of 54 percent compared to the previous solution. In addition, 98 percent of the plastic used can be recycled, according to the company.

In 2019, Unilever set a goal to halve the use of new plastic by 2025, save a total of 100,000 tonnes of plastic packaging and initiate a complete move away from single-use plastic. The new packaging pays off towards this goal. The plan is to completely eliminate the use of plastic in the future by improving the design of the deodorant stick. For the time being, the refillable deodorant will only be available in US Target and Walmart shops.

Is that enough in terms of sustainability?
Multi-track on the way to the same goal: the new deodorant stick solution shows that it is possible. The solution is not yet perfect and is only a first step. On the other hand, it is a (much needed) step! And it is going in the right direction.

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