How refills work:

1. When your product is empty, save the container.

2. Order a refill pouch and save 10% compared to glass pricing.

3. Squeeze the refill pouch into your container, and enjoy!

Shipping your refill pouches back to Activist:

Let Activist do the recycling work for you by simply requesting a free shipping label here and sending your refill pouches back to them. It's best to wait until you've got 4+ pouches to reduce your footprint even further and save resources!

Why are refill pouches eco-friendly?

Refilling your products reduces emissions and waste compared to single-use glass containers, even when the glass is recycled.

Refill pouches generate 99% less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and 75% less plastic waste than recycled glass containers due to efficiencies created by manufacturing and shipping less material.

How do refill pouches reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 99%?

It’s all about varying weights traveling long distances.

Activist's average glass container weighs 100g (compared to pouches at 8g) and is manufactured in China. Assuming that the glass to make the bottles begins in a U.S. customer's home recycling bin, the glass will travel ~17,000 miles per cycle of recycling and remanufacturing.

That adds up to a huge carbon footprint — 115X the CO2 shipping emissions that a pouch generates. In other words, pouches reduce CO2 emissions by more than 99%.

That number only gets better as you repeatedly refill the same container. After 10 refills, you'll produce about 1,000% less greenhouse gas emissions!

This doesn't even take into account the huge amount of energy it takes to recycle and re-manufacture glass when it's treated as a single-use container, or the extra space that bottles take up in a shipping container compared to flat pouches. We hope to calculate these differences next, but for now we know that the environmental impact of glass is much worse than pouches.


How do refill pouches reduce plastic waste?

Our pouches are made from super-thin layers of plastic and aluminum. The amount of plastic in each pouch is just a few grams.

Compare this to glass containers, which are usually treated as single-use and come with pumps, droppers, sprayers and other lids that are not recyclable.

Each time you allow one of those parts to be reused, you reduce plastic waste at least 75% — not to mention the manufacturing and shipping emissions, human labor and landfill space that are also reduced.

What are refill pouches made from?

Our refill pouches are made of mylar: a lightweight, durable material that combines super-thin sheets of plastic and aluminum to create a leakproof barrier.

We love them because they drastically reduce shipping emissions (see above). They also don't need the protection of boxes and padding during shipment. We ship them in lightweight, 100% post-consumer recycled unpadded envelopes to further reduce packaging waste and shipping emissions.

Are refill pouches compostable?

No, our refill pouches are not compostable...yet. We last tested compostable pouches in early 2023, and they still need more work.

We must ensure that our products are well-protected for many months, and the compostables currently available (such as those made from layers of aluminum, paper and/or seaweed) would likely result in evaporation, leaks and/or possible microbial contamination, causing huge problems and a lot of waste at scale.

It's also worth keeping mind that compostables are only beneficial when properly composted at home or in an industrial facility. If they go to a landfill instead, they rot in anaerobic decomposition. This generates methane, a greenhouse gas 25x more potent than CO2, which exacerbates climate change. Most households do not yet have access to proper composting, which means the problems of compostable packaging might outweigh the benefits at this stage while composting infrastructure is still in development.

We always have our ear to the ground for the latest innovations in compostables, and we promise to keep searching and testing until we find the next best material for our pouches.

Are refill pouches recyclable?

The 3 Rs are reduce, reuse, and lastly, recycle.

Mylar pouches are not accepted in curbside recycling, but they can be recycled through TerraCycle via a TerraCycle dropoff point, or you can ship them back to us and we'll send them to TerraCycle. If you send us your pouches, please send several at a time for efficiency, clean them thoroughly so they don't leak, avoid plastic tape, and use an envelope instead of a box.

We believe it's important to consider that putting resources into recycling such a small amount of material may have a net-negative impact on our planet. The water for cleaning, fuel for shipping, energy for separating and melting down materials, and time and effort that could be spent on other environmental initiatives are all worth thinking about.

We believe that by reducing plastic by 75% and CO2 emissions by 99%, which does not include recycling any pouches, our refills are a big improvement over recycling glass containers, which are currently the status quo for sustainable skincare.

Why isn't glass packaging sustainable?

The beauty industry wants us to believe that just because glass is "infinitely recyclable," it's sustainable to treat glass containers as single-use, buying our products in new glass containers and dropping them in the recycling bin after just one use.

The truth is that it’s not enough for containers to be recyclable. Because the majority of manufacturing and recycling occurs in Asia, there is not much demand for the United States’ massive amount of discarded materials to ensure that most of it is recycled. According to the EPA, only 27% of U.S. glass is recycled.

But recycling is not an eco-friendly process. If a glass container is lucky enough to be recycled, it generally has to be trucked to a port, loaded onto a container ship, and shipped across the ocean to a port in China. From there it will be trucked to factory where it will be melted down and re-manufactured into new bottles at extremely high temperatures in factories primarily burning coal, then shipped back to the U.S.

It will arrive at the port and then be trucked to a warehouse, where may sit for a few months before being trucked to a manufacturer where beauty products are made, and then trucked to another warehouse while it waits to be purchased by you.

After this long journey, it doesn't make sense for a heavy, bulky glass container to only be used once before making this carbon-intensive journey again.

That's why believe in giving glass containers a chance to be used again and again by making refills easy and accessible.