Toms of Maine is a perfect example of a brand that builds its image on greenwashing. Not to say that there is nothing redeemable about them, as they certainly do better than some cosmetic companies by making certain products recyclable and promising zero animal cruelty, their eco-friendly image is mostly just that, an image. If you want to opt for a more green, natural alternative deodorant, I would look elsewhere, you can get a much better eco-bang for your buck.
Propylene Glycol, Sodium stearate, and glyceryl laurate make up one-third of the ingredients in this product, all of which are derived from vegetable oils. They are used for consistency and are sourced from vegetable, coconut, and palm oils. Vegetable and palm oil crops use disproportionately more land than any other crop besides cereal grains. I know how nice it is to have a smooth deodorant stick, but is it really worth the depletion of vast areas of land to facilitate this? The magic ingredient that keeps your body odor at bay? Hops. Yes, the same hops that are used in beer. Hops have many uses, but it isn't the most environmentally friendly either. This product is not organic, and you can bet that the hops they use are sprayed with pesticides. There are a few more natural ingredients for scent derived from different plants, and technically, all the ingredients are natural. However, the land and pesticides that these ingredients require show that “natural” here doesn’t really amount to much.
One plus about this product is that it contains no animal ingredients and isn’t tested on animals like many cosmetics are. Deodorant sticks are essentially made by mixing together the ingredients into a solid form that is then packaged into a plastic dispenser. Unfortunately, the deodorant bottle and cap cannot be easily recycled, but there is the option to sign up with the container manufacturer TerraCycle to set up a recycling program to help dispose of them properly. However, this should be already incorporated, rather than placing the responsibility on the consumer. The cosmetic industry is a notorious contributor to plastic waste in our oceans. Toms is owned by a Fortune 500 company and can certainly afford to make a big difference by taking a little extra effort to make their packaging easily recyclable, instead of leaving that responsibility up to the consumer and a third-party manufacturer.
Toms of Maine is a brand that is commonly associated as a natural alternative to commercial, chemical-based brands of toiletries. They pose themselves as pioneers of a clean, ethical, and eco-friendly company. However, Toms of Maine is actually a subsidiary of the popular toiletry brand Colgate. While Toms claims they are a cruelty-free brand, Colgate certainly is not. Toms used to sell shoes that became very popular, as they touted themselves and the shoes as charitable in a buy one give one pair of shoes to children in poverty. Many people bought this philanthropic marketing scheme, however, the product ultimately crashed with criticism of their integrity in actually keeping their donation promises, and the counterproductive impact on local business that this scheme resulted in. Toms of Maine does a great job at making themselves look like a green alternative, though this is for the most part a branding scheme. I would suggest opting for a brand such as Weleda or some smaller eco-friendly brands you can order online.