Secret and Old Spice Deodorants Go Zero Waste

P&G has launched options for both refillable and paperboard packaging.

P&G has launched Old Spice anti-perspirant in refillable containers.
P&G has launched Old Spice anti-perspirant in refillable containers.


Could single-use plastic packaging really be on its way out? A hopeful announcement from Procter & Gamble about new refillable antiperspirants and paperboard deodorants suggests that even major personal care companies are starting to take the plastic pollution problem seriously and are redesigning their products in response.

New packaging for both the Secret and Old Spice deodorant and antiperspirant lines comes either in paperboard, sourced from FSC-certified forests, and made from 90% post-consumer recycled paper or in a refillable case. While the case is plastic, the refills are 100% plastic-free with, again, FSC-certified paperboard packaging. 

For anyone worried about using a paperboard tube of deodorant, it's not that different from a conventional plastic tube. You push up the bottom to raise the product and, unlike a conventional tube, can use all of it before recycling or composting. The refillable antiperspirant containers will appeal to those people who like having a familiar screw mechanism. 

Anitra Marsh, associate director of Global Sustainability and Brand Communications for P&G Beauty, told Treehugger: "We’ve heard loud and clear that people are craving more eco-friendly personal care products, but they also must be delightful to use, otherwise people will not stick with them long-term. By providing sustainable options for both antiperspirants and aluminum-free deodorants at some of the most affordable prices on the market, we’re able to make sustainable choices a reality for more consumers."

Secret deodorant in paper tube
Secret deodorant in paperboard package.


Marsh explained that a test launch for the paperboard deodorants in May 2020 was "incredibly positive" and, based on the success of that program, P&G launched it more widely this year.

"The feedback on the refillable antiperspirant has also been positive, with most consumers commenting on the ease of the twist design to advance the product, much like a lipstick," says Marsh.

Plastic has its time and place, but it's not a good choice for wrapping consumable items with an extremely short lifespan, like personal care products. P&G is smart to make this transition to refillable, biodegradable packaging, and hopefully will roll out similar changes to all its products as soon as possible — though it has not said it intends to do that. No doubt shoppers will realize, too, that a paper carton is just as effective as a plastic tube and doesn't persist nearly as long in the environment.

So far, the redesigned deodorants and antiperspirants are available in-store at Target, Walmart, CVS, and online at Walgreens.