“Fully biodegradable in less time than a banana peel.” Behind Wild’s 100% plastic-free refill

By Kirsty Doolan

- Last updated on GMT

The 70%-bamboo starch refill is housed in a lightweight aluminium case
The 70%-bamboo starch refill is housed in a lightweight aluminium case

Related tags Personal care circular beauty Sustainability green beauty Sustainable packaging sustainable beauty Environment Shower

UK-based startup Wild has launched a compostable refill made from bamboo starch for its new shower gel.

The company said it’s the “world’s first 100% plastic-free, compostable, liquid cosmetics refill​”, which it created in collaboration with industrial design agency and innovation consultancy Morrama.

According to Jo Barnard, founder of Morrama, the process took three years of material testing to create a shower gel bottle that had a minimal impact on the environment but also a premium aesthetic and a convenient user experience.

Made from 70% bamboo starch

The refills are made from 70% bamboo starch, as bamboo grows quickly and is naturally waterproof. The remaining 30% is plant starch from agricultural waste and is used to enhance the refills’ structural integrity.

“Compostable plastics like PHA were considered along with bio-based resins such as Sulapac and even paper-based materials were explored,” ​said Barnard. “But nothing was as successful as the chosen bamboo-based material.”

The refill is housed in a lightweight aluminium case that has been designed to complement the deodorant’s sleek aesthetic and fully protects the refill from water and humidity.

The only plastic part of the product is the pump, which is made from 50% post-consumer recycled plastic. Once the refill is empty it can be put on the compost heap or in general waste and is, according to Barnard, “fully biodegradable in less time than a banana peel”.

Due to its compostable nature, the product only has a six-month shelf-life.

Materials like plastic are used in cosmetics packaging because they don’t break down and can safely package all kinds of ingredients without affecting performance, so brands can use whatever formulas they like in their products,” ​said Barnard. “But working with a compostable material is very different."

"Only 12% of plastic actually recycled in the UK"

“Typically shower gel refills on the market are reliant on plastic,” ​said Barnard. “There is still a valid argument that a thin, lightweight recyclable plastic bottle may have lower carbon emissions, and therefore could be deemed more eco-friendly than the Wild shower gel refill."

She continued: "However, the latest findings from the 2022 UK Big Plastic Count show that only 12% of plastic is actually recycled in the UK with most of it burned (47%), buried (25%) or shipped overseas (17%), so we back up Wild’s decision to go plastic free.” 

Wild, which says it’s here to “challenge the throwaway culture of bathroom products”, launched in 2020 with its first product, Wild deodorant. The company claimed that this was the world's first refillable deodorant that had completely plastic-free, compostable refills and said it has sold more than 15 million of these deodorants since launch.

This design was also developed by Morrama.

According to Barnard, transporting liquids without plastic or high energy aluminium has been a major challenge for the cosmetics industry. "As with the Wild deodorant, we wanted to ensure that this refill would leave no trace, breaking down completely, even in landfill conditions, in less than two years,” ​she concluded. 


Related news

Follow us


View more



Beauty 4.0 Podcast