The first trademarked deodorant was released in the United States in the late 1800s. This paste form deodorant was packaged in a small tin jar and, as you would expect, the deodorant was applied under the arm pits.
It wasn't until the late 1950s (around the same time plastic manufacturing started gaining steam), manufacturers of the ball point pen took inspiration from their pen design and released a new roll on deodorant called Ban Roll-On.
Unlike most roll on deodorants today, the main vessel for holding the liquid deodorant was housed in a glass container, the liquid was released using the same plastic rolling ball technique used in modern plastic deodorant packaging.
Years later an aerosol perspirant spray deodorant was released. Although immensely popular at the time (and still used today), aerosol deodorants lost their stronghold in the market in late 70s due to scientific evidence showing chemicals released from the aerosol containers were harming the ozone layer.
In the late 1970s the decline from aerosol usage increased the popularity of push up deodorants. Single use plastic packaged deodorant, that sees the deodorant pushed up by a twisting plastic mechanism. This style of deodorant packaging is still one of the most popular forms of deodorant on the market today.
And herein lies the issue.
These popular deodorants are packaged in plastic, and the majority of this plastic is either not recyclable or simply does not make it to the recycling stream. We need to see a drastic reduction in the amount of plastic we use on a day-to-day basis. Recycling plastic is not the answer to the growing plastic pollution problem we face today.
What's the alternative to a roll on deodorant or plastic push-up tube?
As with all single use plastic items, the solution is to simply stop buying single use products packaged in plastic.
If the deodorant has no plastic packaging then what's the alternative?
If you'd like your beauty routine to remain similar to the modern convenience that "single use plastic" offers today, then a deodorant in a cardboard push up tube is the most suitable alternative.
EORTH is an old English word for Earth — a period in time before plastic existed on our planet. We need to go back to that time, a time when deodorant had no plastic packaging and start putting Earth Before Plastic®.
Natural deodorants are not only natural and effective, by using a natural deodorant in a cardboard tube means you'll be eliminating more more piece of plastic from your bathroom.
Once your deodorant tube is empty it can be easily added to your compost, making it the ultimate plastic free, zero waste deodorant.
There are also deodorants on the market today that are in paste form, that are packaged either in a glass jar or a metal tin. This means you apply the deodorant in the same way as they did back in the 1800s — either dipping your finger into the paste or using a spatula to apply the paste to your pits.
For many the thought of putting their finger into a jar of paste, then applying under their arms makes them a little uncomfortable. And, after years of conveniently using a single use plastic container to apply your deodorant, it's understandable that switching to a non plastic/deodorant paste may require some adjustments in your thoughts around touching your armpits!
You can rest assured, applying a little paste under your own clean arm pits really is not as icky as you may think. It's no different than using your hands to apply moisturiser to any other part of your skin!
No matter which method of deodorant you choose, the best choice is always to go plastic free. It's our obligation to the planet that provides us with fresh food, clean water, clean air and the shade from the sun to give back what we take away. And giving back plastic is definitely not the answer.
Author Bio - Catherine Anne Earle
Thanks for reading. I'm Cathy the founder of EORTH Australia, an online store that stocks only plastic free products.
I started EORTH after participating in a Plastic Free July many years ago. A few days into the Plastic Free July challenge I soon became aware of just how damaging plastics were to the environment, and although I was conscious of my consumer choices, products packaged in single use plastic and household products from of plastic materials were still very high on my list of purchases.
After lengthy searches for alternatives to plastic products I soon realised that there were a lot of eco stores that sold some plastic free products, but very few really got down to the heart of the plastics issues and said a big hard "no" to selling products that contained plastics — and that is exactly what EORTH is all about.
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Management and was the owner and founder of Sun Peaks Independent News, a community newspaper based in British Columbia, Canada.
After moving back to Australia several years ago I now reside in Palm Cove a beachside suburb in my hometown of Cairns — the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.