Look, I’m not one of those bloggers who’s constantly plugging products and urging you to sign up for things. It’s been more than two years since I’ve even tangentially mentioned my affiliate link with Grove Collaborative, although I have maintained my relationship with this company for six years, since the days when they were called ePantry and I wrote this review of 11 Earth-friendly products.
Over the years, Grove Collaborative has continued to expand their product line, improve the environmentally friendly features of their products, and adjust their policies to help customers get what we want conveniently but non-wastefully. This year, some of Grove’s house-brand products have become available in Target stores as well, offering a way to buy these great cleansers in person if that’s what you prefer. Also, now there’s an app.
So, here’s an updated review of what Grove Collaborative has to offer! This is not a sponsored post. I receive a discount when anyone signs up for Grove using my affiliate link, whether or not I publish articles singing the company’s praises. I am writing this because I believe this is a responsible business selling useful products that are better for the Earth than many of the alternatives, and I want to spread the word!
What is Grove Collaborative?
It is a business that sells household and personal-care products that meet standards of low environmental impact and good business ethics. You order online–via app or website–for delivery by mail within the contiguous United States. Your order is packed in recyclable, biodegradable, unbleached cardboard and paper and tape. To reduce waste of packaging and delivery fuel, there is a minimum order size.
The default option is to receive a monthly package of what Grove thinks you’ll need based on your past purchases, but it is completely customizable! (Will a subscription service help you to be greener?) You can change what’s in your package, change the shipping date, or choose not to buy anything this month. You can choose “turn off monthly shipments” and just come back to the site/app whenever you’re ready to order again.
You’ll get an email, text message, or app notification about a week before they plan to pack your order, reminding you to edit as needed. If you find that Grove is wanting to send you something more often than you need that thing, you can adjust your preferences so that the item is suggested less often or never mentioned again until you ask for it.
There is no membership fee for the basic service. VIP membership will save you money if you get more than 4 shipments per year.
If they accidentally send the wrong thing or something gets damaged in shipment, I’ve found that customer service is very responsive and always tells me to keep the thing I received, while they add the correct/undamaged thing to my next order.
Grove is working on the problem of plastic pollution and keeps adding more plastic-free products. Many of their soaps and detergents come in plastic pouches for refilling pump dispensers, and they take back the pouches for recycling.
What products do Earthlings recommend buying from Grove?
First, consider what you can get from the stores where you’re already shopping in person or ordering for delivery. If you’re already buying environmentally friendly products–especially if you can buy by the case to save money and packaging–then adding another order to your shopping routine will increase, not decrease, your use of resources. It’s best to use Grove as a source of products to replace less-green options or to keep your home stocked up with supplies so you don’t make extra, last-minute trips to stores. Also, consider whether Grove’s prices are higher or lower than your usual store, for products you could get in both places.
The Earthlings in my household have been trying greener products since 1997, so we’ve sampled quite a few! Check out our general recommendations for cleaners and hygiene products. Here are our honest reviews of some items from Grove that we’ve tried in the past few years…
These two new products are available individually or as a set, packaged in aluminum bottles that are fully recyclable. We like that idea, but the bottles seem kind of small–refilling from a bigger package usually is a better value for the money, as well as less packaging per ounce of product–and these soaps are not concentrated, just full strength. I think, though, that aluminum recycling equipment may be designed to work with soda cans, which would limit the diameter of aluminum bottles. Both our bottles arrived slightly dented, but that hasn’t affected their usefulness at all.
We already had been using Grove’s glass hand soap dispenser and glass dish soap dispenser for more than two years, filling them with the Grove soaps in plastic pouches or other brands of plant-based soap. The hand soap dispenser works perfectly. The dish soap tends to clog its spout, but that’s easily resolved by holding the spout under the hot water for a moment while I’m filling the sink. Although we use castile soap in foamers in our bathrooms, for the kitchen we prefer a stronger, non-foamy soap to get grease off our hands faster. (Grove also offers a glass foamer, which we haven’t tried.)
The lemon & eucalyptus scent is very fresh and pleasant but not too strong: I enjoy it while I’m washing dishes but can barely smell it on my hands afterward.
Why buy a big plastic spray bottle full of ready-to-use cleaner (that’s mostly water trucked across the country), when you could refill your sprayer with tap water and concentrated cleaner from a cute little recyclable glass bottle? Grove also sells this glass spray bottle with a silicone sleeve to prevent it from breaking. We’ve been using one of these bottles for at least a year now and are very happy with it: the sprayer works well, without clogging or dripping much, and if the outside of the bottle gets grungy with dripped cleaner attracting dust, it’s easy to clean in a few minutes under hot water–unlike a plastic bottle, which never feels clean-as-new again.
This is a great spray-and-wipe cleaner for the kitchen sink, countertops, or similar surfaces; it loosens stuck-on food in seconds. It’s also good for cleaning grime off the wall around a light switch without dissolving the paint!
The orange & rosemary scent smells pleasantly clean without being too strong and lingering.
I love this brush! The soap dispenser doesn’t make much sense to me, but it is perfect as a storage place to keep the brush clean and let it dry completely when not in use. You can buy the brush separately if you already have a good place to keep it. I recently replaced my brush after getting 18 months of frequent use out of the first one.
The brush is made from bamboo and recycled plastic. The dispenser is a ceramic dish that holds a recycled-plastic disc with drainage holes and a spring on its underside. Apparently you’re supposed to fill the dish under the disc with detergent and plunge the wet brush on top of it to work up a lather–I say “apparently” because it didn’t come with instructions! But if you do that, you have to rinse the disc, spring, and dish very often and thoroughly to prevent a gunky mess from forming. I find it easier to use the brush with the soapy water in which my dishes are soaking or, if I need more lather for a particularly greasy pan, just pump detergent directly onto the brush.
(Note that I wash dishes by the “save up a bunch of dishes to wash at once; soak them in a sinkful of soapy water, then scrub” method–not the “wash each dish individually with its own dose of detergent and constantly running water” method, which in my observation is a lot more wasteful of both detergent and water.)
This brush is the perfect size and shape for scrubbing dishes, pots, and baking pans right into the corners! The bristles are firm and bunched together for effective scrubbing, yet it’s pretty easy to rinse out all the bits of browned food. Unlike some natural-bristle dish brushes I tried, this one is easily de-greased by just rubbing in some more dish detergent and rinsing thoroughly with hot water.
Not just for scouring walnuts, these scrubbies made from unwanted walnut shells are perfect for dishes, utensils, nonstick pans, painted walls, or other surfaces from which you’re trying to remove stuck-on gunk without scratching the surface. They work as well as the typical plastic scouring pads, for gentle abrasion without hurting your hand.
Because these are not 100% walnut but also contain unspecified “recycled fibers,” I’m not sure if they’re compostable. I may experiment with that…
Grove also makes a walnut scrubber sponge with a recycled-plastic sponge attached to the scouring pad. We’ll try those when we use up our bulk pack of another brand’s scrubber-sponges made entirely of recycled plastic–because recycling is good, but reducing plastic in our lives by recycling renewable materials is even better!
This durable brush, made from bamboo and recycled plastic, is perfect for scrubbing the bathtub and shower area. The handle is a good size and shape for a secure grip (even when it’s wet) without mashing my knuckles against the back of the brush like tighter handles do. It makes scrubbing relatively easy at all the awkward angles necessary in the tub and high up on the walls.
Our first one lasted two or three years, and it didn’t wear out–it just got so many hairs stuck between its tightly-spaced bristles that I felt I couldn’t rinse it clean anymore.
More breathable than plastic bandages, these are very comfortable and stay in place quite well. I’m especially impressed that when I cut my fingertip and wrapped one of these around it, then inevitably got the bandage damp every time I washed my hands, it dried faster and felt less disgusting than a plastic bandage, and it did not leave a sludge of adhesive in my cuticle for days afterward!
The cardboard storage cylinder is awesome, easy to open even when you just cut your hand, yet it doesn’t come open by accident if you drop it. It’s so well designed that we’ve made an effort to repurpose each one for holding crayons or something. It’s also compostable or recyclable.
The bandages, and their wrappers and backing papers, really are compostable. I’ve remembered to put several of them in our compost bin, and I haven’t spied them again when turning the compost, so they must break down quickly.
I first bought these at Exist Green when visiting Omaha, and of course it’s great to support a friendly, local, small business when you can–but I’m glad I’ve been able to resupply through Grove because my family loves these bandages depicting pandas; we call them pand-aids. Grove also carries some other sizes and shapes (without pandas), which we haven’t tried yet. Because pandas are the best!
When we put environmentally-friendly sunscreens to the test at Disney World in 2019, this one was a winner! Read our full review here.
I tend to avoid disposable menstrual products, but I use them once in a while and keep a supply in case guests need them. These are just as effective and comfortable as any mainstream brand and a good value for the money. They’re not individually wrapped. The adhesive stays put but doesn’t leave sticky residue on clothes.
Among the several reusable menstrual cups I’ve tried, this one is fine as long as I’m relatively sedentary–but, for me personally, it tends to move downward when I do a lot of walking and can get uncomfortably low. Because it does have a good capacity and seal well, I’ve ended up using it as my preferred cup if I’m staying home sick; I can sleep for many hours without having leakage when I stand up. (Your vagina may vary. Visit Put a Cup in It for guidance to choosing the best menstrual cup for your individual needs.)
Unlike the first reusable produce bags I tried, these are made from organic cotton, not polyester that will shed synthetic microfibers into our water supply when we wash it! I suspect they’ll also last longer and the drawstrings will be sturdier than the polyester bags, but I’ve only had these for a few months.
Now that stores are letting us bring our own bags again, I’m revising my pandemic grocery-shopping routine so that I bring enough of these bags to hold all my fresh produce that requires bags. It’s tricky to remember, but when I do, these bags are satisfying and easy to use.
My only complaint is that the small size really is pretty small, and the large is not quite big enough for really large things like ears of corn or a bunch of kale.
This lightweight, cute little cutting board is perfect for cutting a small amount of food–like two tomatoes, a block of tofu, or a bunch of cilantro–without clearing a lot of counter space. I didn’t think we needed a third cutting board, but now I can’t remember how we did without it! It’s held up well for several years.
Click here to get your choice of free “starter set” of products from Grove Collaborative and start a trial membership which does not require monthly purchases! You’ll need to purchase at least $30 of products in your first order to qualify for the freebies. I’ll get a discount on my next Grove order if you sign up using my link.
What will these Earthlings try next?
We’re awaiting a steel can of Seventh Generation Zero Plastic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Powder, which has a lower environmental impact than liquid plant-based cleaners because it’s dry instead of mixed with bulky, heavy water that requires a larger package and more fuel to transport it from factory to consumer. When added to the water in a toilet, it apparently has foaming action for effective cleaning. So far it’s only available without fragrance, so it’s going to have to do an excellent cleaning job to impress us!
We also look forward to trying deodorant in a plastic-free refillable container, but Grove just recently started stocking this and is now sold out…and we have a pantry stash of deodorant in plastic containers to use up!
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