Plastic Refill Pouches and the Recycling Question

Can Beast reduced plastic refill pouches be recycled? The short answer is yes, usually with some extra effort on your part. But the long answer gives a fuller picture of why pouches are a more earth-friendly choice, even if you don’t recycle them.

The Big Picture

Packaging’s impact on the environment is measured in three ways, and reduced plastic refill pouches beat out hard plastic, metal and even glass containers in all three:

  1. The energy and resources used to produce them.

Compared to traditional plastic shampoo and soap bottles, refill pouches use about 80% less plastic, water and energy during the manufacturing process.

  1. The energy and resources used to transport them.

Because plastic pouches are extremely light and can be packed flat, many can fit in a box and special care doesn’t need to be taken to separate them. (Glass jars, on the other hand, need to be separated and cushioned to prevent scratching and breaking.) So it takes less fuel and fewer vehicles to deliver them to the plants where we fill them with our products.  

  1. The waste produced when they’re discarded.

Less than 9% of plastic packaging is ever recycled. That plastic fills up landfills, and at least 14 million tons of it ends up in the ocean every year. But plastic pouches take up 9 times less space in a landfill than hard plastic bottles. And because a Beast pouch holds a 3 to 6-month supply of product, we would expect our pouches to take up even less space.

But What About You, Personally?

Even if we’re not looking at the big picture, you—the customer—benefit big-time when you use refill pouches:

  • You save fuel when you only have to buy bathroom products every 6 months.
  • You keep your local rivers and streams clean and clear by using environmentally friendly soaps and shampoos, which drain into your wastewater and are easily dealt with by your local wastewater treatment plant.
  • You save money, too—conserving an altogether different kind of green. 
  • Plus, once you empty your refill pouch into one of our refillable pump bottles, you have a sleek addition to any decor that takes up minimal space in the shower or on your counter. 

So, Are Pouches Recyclable or What?

Most curbside recycling programs do not accept plastic pouches. That’s because most pouches are made up of layers of different materials, and local recycling plants don’t have the ability to separate those layers. Private recycling companies are for-profit companies. Because our pouches are so light and contain so little material, it generally costs more to process and recycle them than recycling companies can make off them. So what makes plastic pouches great—the small amount of plastic they use—also means it’s not worth it for recyclers to mess with them.

A select few packaging companies make plastic pouches that only contain one type of plastic. Those pouches can be recycled most places plastic grocery bags can be recycled (usually in bins outside grocery stores). Beast is currently looking into the possibility of switching to these pouches, and even using PCR (post-consumer recycled content).

The pouches Beast currently uses can be recycled by companies like Terracycle, which grinds soft plastic into pellets that are used to make things like plastic benches and playground equipment. You can find out about starting a Terracycle program at your school or business here.

But remember, the saying “reduce, reuse, recycle” is in that order for a reason. Using less plastic in the first place can actually be a more earth-friendly option than recycling.

Shop refillable Beast bottles and earth-friendly refill pouches here

Read more about Beast's sustainability commitments and goals: