an assortment of colorful plastic bottles

The Problem with Plastic Packaging

Last Updated: June 15, 2022

Plastic packaging is a problem, but we’re ready to solve it. Learn how we’re shaking up the industry by replacing single-use plastics with sustainable alternatives, one product at a time.

Each year, over 300 million tons of plastic are produced — and around 50% of that is dedicated to single-use products like packaging. Plastic pollution kills 1 million marine animals every year, it contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases at each point of its life cycle, and only 9% of all plastic produced ends up being recycled. Take into consideration that the average plastic bottle can take hundreds of years to break down, and it becomes alarmingly clear that plastic is an omnipresent threat all over the globe.

Single-use plastic packaging dominates the consumer goods industry, but we’re innovating out of products that contain plastics and into products designed for circularity: plastic-reducing and plastic-free containers that are refillable and reusable. In 2022, we’re plastic neutral – and by 2025, we’ll be completely plastic-free. Read on to learn the steps we’re taking to achieve our plastic-free goals – plus some tips to reduce your plastic usage at home.

Why is plastic so prolific in packaging?

If plastic is so terrible for ocean life and the planet, why is it still the go-to for packaging? The answer is pretty simple — plastic beats out pretty much every other material in terms of cost-effectiveness and durability.

Plastic is able to stand up against damage and corrosion. It’s also lightweight, which makes it easier and less expensive to ship and create more products. And finally, plastic is cheaper than aluminum and glass – and when recycled properly, plastics can even be melted down and remanufactured into new products. All of these factors contribute to plastic becoming the golden girl of the consumer goods industry.

Learn more about Beyond Plastic™, our five-year plan to go 100% plastic-free.

How Grove is addressing the plastic packaging problem

Our goal is for everything we make and sell to be 100% plastic free by 2025. We expect primary packaging to be plastic-free with rare exceptions, and we’re committed to working with our family of values-aligned, third-party brands to make progress as an industry rather than charting this course on our own.

What that progress looks like will depend on take-back programs and refillable options as well as new innovations – but at this point, setting a bold goal feels like our best way to advocate for meaningful change.

Roadmap to plastic-free

We don’t have total visibility as to how we will get to 100% plastic-free, but that’s not a reason to hesitate starting our journey. Here’s how we’re thinking about tackling these challenges.

Phase 1: Available alternatives

Phase 1 requires transitioning all possible packaging out of plastic, where solutions exist. If solutions don’t currently exist, we’ll use post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic as much as possible. We’re supporting legislation around disincentivizing single-use plastics and addressing plastic pollution.

Phase 2: New formats and behaviors

In phase 2, we’ll find plastic-free alternatives to existing products. We want to increase our compostable packaging assortment and, ideally, make packaging home compostable where possible.

Phase 3: Innovations and solutions

Phase 3 is the final stretch of our plastic-free journey. It depends on refill systems, take-back programs, 100% recyclable materials, and catalyzing our industry to make bold commitments to plastic-free solutions.

Memberships and advocacy

Our plastic-free goal is meant to transform our industry, not just our products. In order to do this, we know that Grove needs to participate in conversations about relevant legislation. We do this via our memberships and advocacy.

Memberships: Grove revisits its memberships annually to participate in action-oriented groups of like-minded companies and organizations like Climate Collaborative, American Sustainable Business Council, New Plastics Economy, and the U.S. Plastics Pact.

Advocacy: Grove is proud to support the Plastics Free California Ballot Initiative, the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Bill, and other state and national advocacy efforts to increase recycling, avoid single-use plastic, and address plastic pollution.

How we’re doing on our goals

We’re making steady, plastic-free progress. Our first priority is transitioning Grove-owned brands out of single-use plastics. As of 2022, Grove-owned brands won’t launch any new products that require virgin, single-use plastic as primary packaging, and we’re actively removing any single-use plastic packaging from our inventory.

Here are a few metrics that show how much plastic Grove-owned brands have avoided since making the switch to sustainable packaging:


Pounds of plastic avoided in all our plastic-free and plastic-reducing products combined.


Pounds of plastic avoided in our Grove Co™ cleaning concentrates. Our powerful cleaning concentrates have moved from plastic to glass and are 100% plastic-free.


Pounds of plastic avoided in our Grove Co.™ hand and dish soaps. Our high-performance formulas have transitioned from plastic to aluminum, and are now completely plastic-free.

Peach Not Plastic™

For decades, hair and body care meant plastic bottles full of liquid. Through research and testing, we discovered that plastic and water have zero performance benefit — whether in hand soap, body wash, or shampoo.

In 2020, we launched Peach Not Plastic™ – our first 100% plastic-free personal care brand to show Grove members and the industry that it’s possible to have an enjoyable, effective, beauty and personal care routine without all the plastic packaging.

Since then, we’ve avoided 67,300 pounds of plastic in our Peach products. These plant-based personal care products use recycled cardboard packaging that allows each Peach customer to avoid over 4 pounds of plastic per year!

3 ways you can reduce your use of plastic-packaged products

1. Learn what’s recyclable and what isn’t

Familiarize yourself with products that are — and aren’t — recyclable. We’ve got a list of 11 things you probably think are recyclable, but actually do more harm than good when they end up in your recycling bin.

2. Swap your single-use products for reusable alternatives

Ditch the recycling bin altogether with reusable alternatives to common household products. Swaps like reusable straws and cotton pads are easy and affordable to make, but we’ve also got tips to turn your pantry into an eco-friendly haven if you’re up for a fun weekend project.

3. Reduce your take-out plastic

Learn how to reduce plastic when you order take-out. Simple tips like saying no to plastic utensils can help reduce plastic consumption when you order food for delivery. If you’re picking food up, bring your own containers instead of using plastic or styrofoam containers from the restaurant. Easy, right?

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