Little colourful boxes are now filling the beauty aisle at Countdown, and there is one small detail about this box you need to know, it’s entirely compostable, Even better, the world’s most sustainable beauty brands’ products inside are solid bars, varying from shampoos, face cleaners, moisturisers and everything in between – all made from naturally-derived ingredients that will leave no trace on this earth.

French for ethical, Ethique is the world’s first zero-waste beauty brand and was founded by Christchurch local Brianne West seven years ago, when she began creating formulas in her kitchen.

By removing water from its formulations, Ethique takes credit for preventing the manufacture and disposal of more than five million plastic bottles in landfills. The social enterprise has a goal to reach 50 million bottles by 2025.

According to West, the biggest challenge in creating solid beauty bars, is getting people to realise that a shampoo or moisturiser bar delivers the same quality as brands in plastic bottles, you just need to adapt your shower routine a bit.

“Most of our bars are water activated, and there’s plenty of that in your bathroom,” said West. “We are changing the behaviour of millions of people worldwide by simply getting them to rub a shampoo bar on their head, rather than squeeze liquid out of a plastic bottle – it’s really that simple.”

“We’re really proud to have a brand like Ethique available in our stores. More and more, our customers are looking for alternatives that are better for the planet and having products like this on our shelves gives them that option,” said Countdown General Manager of Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability Kiri Hannifin.

“Countdown has a clear focus on reducing plastic and packaging from across our business. We’ve phased out single-use plastic bags, we no longer sell packs of single-use plastic straws and we’ve removed more than 117 tonnes of plastic from our produce section.  Supporting suppliers who are making similar changes is a no brainer!”

“We’re really excited to see the brand cutting through to mainstream consumers,” said West. “It takes a bit of time for people to get used to solid products – but pretty quickly, the idea of rubbing a bar on your hair, or allowing your body heat to melt moisturisers and face serums, becomes your new normal.”

Getting onto supermarket shelves has been a big step for the brand but the timing is right with consumers around the world demanding products that are eco-friendly. Ethique launched into 840 stores in Holland & Barrett in the United Kingdom in July, and sold out in 48 hours with a waiting list of 55,000 people for products. The brand is now available in more than 14 countries, including Japan, Taiwan, the US and Australia.