Native Plastic-Free Deodorant

overall rating:

1

planets

Imani Johnson
6/24/2021
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Overall, the Native plastic-free deodorant is a decent option for a natural and somewhat sustainable deodorant. The company is a member of 1% for the Planet, which means that for each purchase of their plastic-free deodorant they will donate 1% of profits to environmental non-profits. However, Native still carries all their products in their plastic packaging counterparts, and these plastic products are not a part of 1% for the Planet. By 2023, Native plans to completely shift their products to plastic-free alternatives. Unlike other companies, Native does have a history of listening to its customers and making changes. Because of consumers, the company released its plastic-free line and made its formula vegan. I admire the progress Native has made, but I think they still have a long way to go in terms of manufacturing and labor transparency, making their ingredients organic, and fully transitioning to plastic-free packaging.

What it's made of:

1

Native is very transparent about their ingredient list, boasting that all their deodorant is naturally derived, vegan, and cruelty-free. The deodorant also contains no talc, aluminum, phthalates, or parabens. They also include a brief description of what plant each ingredient is derived from. This sounds pretty good so far, but we must keep in mind that just because something is naturally derived doesn’t mean it's necessarily good for the environment. For instance, none of their ingredients are certified organic, which means that their farming practices are still contributing to herbicide and pesticide runoff. Even ingredients like coconuts that don’t require much pesticide use still contribute to the clearing of coastal mangroves, which are essential for storm prevention.

Native also claims their fragrances are made of a blend of essential oils, natural extracts, and “safe” synthetic oils. Natural and synthetic fragrances both have their pros and cons when it comes to sustainability. A common criticism of essential oils is that they take an enormous amount of plant material to produce since most plant matter contains only 1-2% essential oils. Alternatively, synthetic oils are often criticized for using harmful chemicals. Native claims their synthetic fragrances are “safe” but does not offer any other details other than that they abide by the International Fragrance Regulatory Association’s standards. 

How it's made:

1.5

Packaging-wise, Native’s new plastic-free line is a step in the right direction. The new packaging is made from paperboard, printed with soy-based ink, and ships in a 100% recycled paper mailer. Paperboard is a great alternative to plastic packing since it's easily recyclable. According to the EPA, paperboard makes up 71.3% of packing materials recovered for recycling! However, Native needs to work on their transparency about their manufacturing process. There is no information on how their deodorant is produced other than that it is made in the U.S., however, it can be assumed that their manufacturing process is similar to Procter & Gamble’s since they were acquired by them in 2017. Although P&G has set various goals such as carbon neutrality and cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, these goals have a vague deadline of 2030, and the company fails to present tangible steps to get to these outcomes. 

Who makes it:

0.5

Native claims all their products are produced in the U.S. but were not transparent about wages or working conditions. The wages of Native workers are likely similar to the wages of the U.S. P&G factory wages. Currently, these wages can range from 8-17 dollars an hour. Depending on which state these factories are located, these wages could reflect minimum wage or slightly above minimum wage. However, they do not reflect livable wages which would need to be a minimum of $21.50 an hour in the U.S. Additionally, this doesn't take into account the workers needed to extract labor-intensive natural resources such as coconuts and tapioca starch. Currently, Native hasn't disclosed any certifications or standards to ensure the safety and treatment of these workers.