Coincidentally, two weeks before COVID changed our hand-washing habits (among other things), Josh Howard launched Single Use Ain’t Sexy, Australia’s first dissolvable hand soap tablet, sold with a reusable glass bottle.
“The idea behind Single Use Ain’t Sexy is that we’re trying to make sustainability super simple and super sexy,” Josh explains. “Our sustainable hand soap looks really beautiful, so people don’t feel like they have to compromise on style just to be more eco-friendly.”
The premise behind Single Use Ain’t Sexy is simple. Fill your reusable glass bottle with warm tap water, drop in one soap tablet (like you would with a Berocca), and when it’s dissolved you’ve got an aloe- or jasmine-scented foaming hand wash that leaves your hands feeling soft and nourished. And when you’re done, instead of chucking another single-use plastic soap bottle into landfill, you drop another tablet into your glass bottle and the whole cycle starts again.
“When we launched the business, it became clear pretty quickly we were solving dual crises,” Josh says. “There was the immediacy of the public health crisis, by helping people stay clean and hygienic by washing their hands, and then the ongoing environmental crisis, which is how we can help people reduce their single-use plastic consumption.”
The idea had been bubbling away for a while before the product was officially launched in 2020.
“I just thought it was mad that we were shipping water around, especially given we use water-based cleaning and personal care products at home,” says Josh. “Single Use Ain’t Sexy is distilling the raw ingredients of these products down into a tablet, so we’re helping customers minimise their carbon footprint by not shipping water. Instead of having a massive container ship with a few million bottles of liquid-based soap on it, we could ship that whole amount in a few pallets.”
To date, over 6,000 Australians have made the switch to Single Use Ain’t Sexy, including Chrissie Swan, Melissa Leong and Turia Pitt (who’s also an investor). This has saved over 82,000 single-use plastic bottles from going to landfill. The company recently introduced a soap tablet subscription service too, with refills delivered every two or four months.
“For us, it’s about making sustainability quick, easy and effortless. People shouldn’t have to turn their daily routines upside down just to be a bit more eco-friendly,” Josh explains. “I’ve loved seeing how Single Use Ain’t Sexy is a great first step for many people to use less, then start making other incremental changes to be more green.”
Josh has been a Bank Australia customer for just over a year; he’s inspired six of his mates to make the switch as well.
“I know that my money is going into sustainable causes with Bank Australia,” he says. “We’ve tried to be really specific about who we partner with, and when it comes to banking I’m a big believer in putting your money into places that actually give back to the community and our environment.