Raising a plastic-free generation


Brianne West has a dream of erasing plastic bottles from our planet, and in just eight years she’s well on her way as the creator of the world’s most sustainable beauty range. Brianne, from Christchurch, is the mind behind the zero-waste beauty and lifestyle brand Ethique, which has so far prevented more than 6 million bottles from being manufactured and disposed of in landfills. Her goal is to reach 50 million by 2025. 

Internationally, Brianne has given the beauty industry a serious wake-up call, as she showcases how products can “leave no trace on this earth”. With an expanding range of solid bars – from shampoo, to conditioners, deodorants and everything in between – all in compostable packing, there’s no stopping the 32-year-old as her fight against plastic stretches  worldwide.  

Now she’s turning her sights towards education and is urging parents to join her in the battle against wasteful plastic. Last year Ethique launched a new range formulated specifically for bubs – Little Ethique – featuring specialist bath melts, a bum balm, massage bar, conditioner and an all-purpose wash for hair and body. 

“Let’s be honest, with kids comes a lot of plastic waste. Nappies (and sanitary waste), for instance, make up about 10 percent of kerbside waste sent to landfills, so we need to make a change. No excuses,” says Brianne. 

“I’m happy to see other environmentally-minded businesspeople introduce products like cloth nappies and cloth wipes to the market. While children may not be my area of expertise, creating quality bathroom products is, so this is my way of offering parents a plastic-free alternative.” 

Brianne hopes to change people’s behaviour and rewind the clock to when our grandparents didn’t have liquid products in plastic bottles, or used disposable nappies for their babies.  

“If every parent switched to plastic-free measures, the next generation could be the generation that doesn’t use single-use plastic products. This is a movement and we need parents to make the first move.” 

The Mintel study ‘Sub-Zero Waste 2019 Global Beauty and Personal Care Trend’ found that most people want a zero-waste lifestyle, giving them the chance to make a difference. This means it’s time for businesses and manufacturers in all industries to step up and give people, especially parents, an option. 

“Global plastic manufacturers are gearing up to produce 30 percent more plastic in the next five years. Brands need to offer their customers a way to help save the environment. 

“We have to stop transferring responsibility for saving our environment onto consumers – brands need to lead the way and become responsible for the entire lifecycle of their products,” says Brianne. 

Brianne’s idea of solid beauty bars stemmed from a moment in the shower when she dropped her shampoo bottle and saw half of it spill out, and she thought there must be a better way. 

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