Zero Co review: Cleaning products without the waste
Quick verdict: Zero Co delivers zero waste, eco-friendly cleaning products to your door with a starter box of reusable and recycled colourful bottles.
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What we liked
- Home delivery
- Eco-friendly reusable packaging
- Good products that smell great
- Well priced
What we didn't like
- It can be a little time consuming decanting the products into the bottles
Plastic containers for cleaning and personal care products fill our homes, but most only last as long as the product inside them before they end up in the bin. Now consider that a single plastic container like these can take over 450 years to break up in landfill and many aren't recycled.
Zero Co has a simple mission – reduce the use of single-use plastic by selling eco-friendly cleaning and personal care products. These products are home-delivered in recyclable packaging, and can be put into bottles that can be used again and again and again.
What does it do?
Zero Co makes household cleaning products and a few personal care products like body and hand wash. I reviewed the starter box, which comes with the bottles and containers as well as the refills.
It contains what Zero Co says is 3-4 months' worth of typical household products including:
- Handwash (1L)
- Bodywash (1L)
- Laundry Liquid (4L)
- Multi-Purpose Spray (1L)
- Dishwashing Liquid (1L)
- Dishwasher Tablets (50pk)
- Stain Remover (500ml)
- Shower Cleaner (500ml)
- Toilet Cleaner (500ml)
- Air Freshener (250ml)
Plus 9 reusable dispensers made from Ocean, Beach & Landfill plastic (OBL).
Does it work?
Using Zero Co is simple. Instead of buying your cleaning and personal care products at the supermarket, lugging them home and then chucking out the container when it runs out and replacing the lot, Zero Co delivers the products to your home in recyclable soft pouches. Plus, on your first order, Zero Co provides you with a collection of very cute colour coded bottles and containers.
You empty the product from the pouches into the bottles and containers to use at home, and then mail the empty pouches back to Zero Co in a pre-paid envelope where they will be washed and recycled for use again.
As for the cleaning side of things, I used all of the products in lieu of my usual single-use products that I buy from the supermarket (we tend to buy brand name products as a rule) for the last 4 weeks.
All the products worked just as well as the ones we normally buy and, in the case of the handwash, multipurpose spray and body wash, they smelled even better.
The stain remover did a pretty good job on the kids' more revolting garment stains (when will they stop wiping their hands on their clothes instead of washing them?), and the other products worked just the same as the ones we buy at the supermarket.
Should you buy it?
- Buy it if: You want to reduce the waste you produce at home.
- Don't buy it if: You like cleaning products from specific brands.
I really love the Zero Co approach to single-use plastic and I have to say I look at the cleaning containers in my cupboard that end up in the bin or recycling after just one use very differently now. This is a really simple way to cut down on the use of plastic without sacrificing the quality of the clean.
The products Zero Co makes were comparable to the brand name products I usually buy from the supermarket. Plus, in terms of cost, Zero Co has done some modelling on comparing prices and the Zero Co products come in at roughly the same price – and in some cases cheaper – than the leading brands (of course, acknowledging that supermarkets do have sales at times, but overall the cost isn't noticeably different).
Another bonus in my books is that cleaning products are heavy to lug home with the rest of my groceries, so having them all delivered for a flat fee of $10 – or free if you spend over $199 – is pretty appealing. It also means you will generally top up all your products at once, rather than running out at different times, which always seems to happen at our house.
The colour-coded reusable bottles look great and are all easy to use. Remembering which is which took a bit of getting used to, as I realised how much I rely on those well-known brand logos and colours that I usually use, but I very quickly got used to the Zero Co bottles instead.
Overall, I really love the idea of Zero Co and I especially love being able to do something for the environment with very little effort or change.
It's also an Australian company which is doing all kinds of other good things for the environment, as well as making good quality cleaning products at a fair price.
My only gripe was with decanting the product into the bottles. While I'm sure I would get better with practice, I found it was quite messy and time-consuming, and quite a lot of product ended up going down the sink rather than into the bottle.
The pouches are actually designed with a resistance nozzle (so only the coloured cap should come off) which means the flow of liquid doesn't flow out too fast, and stops the pouches from leaking when they are laid on their side. I found the resistance nozzle slowed down the decanting and removed the whole thing which did speed things up but also made a mess.
Clearly, with some practice (and Zero Co have a helpful video on how to do it best), I'm confident this would get much easier for those of us who are a bit uncoordinated!
Overall to decant the whole kit of products as a beginner took me about 35 minutes, but compared to a plastic bottle sitting in landfill for hundreds of years, it's not a high price to pay.
Pricing and availability
PricePrice (RRP): $159
Where to buy
How did we test this product?
The members of our editorial team review hundreds of beauty products and reflect on their own personal experiences when testing. To test the Zero Co cleaning set, our reviewer used the products for 2 weeks – noting how effective they were at cleaning and how easy the bottles were to use.
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