These days, protein powders aren’t reserved for only high-performance athletes and professionals. They’re part of many people’s daily diet routines, whether building muscle or as a dietary supplement. You’ll find protein powder varieties in many delicious flavors. However, if you’re prioritizing zero-waste living, you may be on the lookout for sustainable zero-waste protein powder options.
Unfortunately, finding protein powders in completely zero-waste or sustainable packaging can be challenging. However, we’ve found that some brands are making conscious efforts. So if you’re looking for a new sustainable alternative to your regular protein powders, this article contains sustainable protein powder options adhering to zero-waste principles to explore.
Given protein powders’ popularity amongst the health and fitness conscious, you’ll find one protein powder or the other in many homes. The options are endless, from regular protein powders to vegan protein powder options like organic pea protein.
However, once you embark on the conscious lifestyle journey, chances are that you’ll be looking to switch out plastic items. As a result, the hunt for plastic-free protein powder varieties with sustainable materials begins.
Besides eliminating protein powders with artificial sweeteners, buying protein powder variants with eco-friendly packaging can be a hassle. Many traditional protein powders may come in delicious flavors packed with nutrients, but they come in plastic packaging. Many of these products are anything but plastic-free from their tubs, tubes, and scoops.
Many brands use materials like recycled plastic to curb the effects of virgin plastic. Other than this, you’ll also find cardboard box options and compostable packaging.
It’s also possible to reuse the containers of your protein powders by opting for refills. However, switching to a protein powder brand that minimizes waste will make a bigger long-term difference. From sustainable packaging to the use of natural flavorings and organic processes, your next zero-waste protein powder is within reach.
Related: Whereas water is the conventional option to blend your protein powder with, some people use other liquids like plant-based milk. For more eco-cred, read up more on the environmental impact of oat milk and other plant-based milk.
Before diving into our picks for zero and low-waste protein powder products, you can also explore bulk buying. When you visit local bulk stores, you can find out if they stock bulk protein powders. This way, you can reduce the amount of packaging you take into your home.
By taking your plastic-free packaging to a local health food store, you can stock up on protein powders. From your choice of vegan protein powders or plant-based protein powders to options with natural flavorings, it’s worth exploring. You’ll also find online zero-waste stores that offer home compostable packaging or bags.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of our top picks for zero-waste protein powder products. These products come from brands making plant-based protein powders and championing eco-friendly practices.
Some also hold labels like Carbon Neutral, USDA Organic, and B Corp Certified. For the vegans, we’ve also featured a fully vegan company. In addition, you’ll find brands that have initiatives like a zero-waste recycling program.
Form offers a range of dairy-free and vegan protein powder products that provide various nutritional values. One of the brand’s offerings is its Performance Vegan Protein product. This zero-waste protein powder serves as a great post-workout product, combining organic pea, brown rice, and pumpkin seed proteins.
Form’s Performance Protein Powder comes in flavors like Chocolate Peanut, Tiramisu, and Vanilla. This way, you can enjoy your product as a tasty post-workout even when only adding water. The powder is dairy-free, gluten-free, GMO-free, and soy-free.
Apart from being packed with nutrients and flavors, we highlight Form’s products for the brand’s dedication to eco-friendly practices. Its products, whether it’s the Performance, Pureblend, or Superblend Protein, come in plastic-free packaging. Instead, the brand crafts its packaging using plant-based biofilm bonded to the paper.
As a result, we love that you can get rid of its compostable packaging through home composting, or you can opt to send your discarded packaging to an industrial compost facility.
Also, you contribute to the greater good when you purchase a product. This is by supporting those in need through the Form Feeding Fund at Bansang Hospital in The Gambia.
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If you’re looking for an organic hemp protein powder in different variants, you’ll be spoilt for choice with Nutiva. Unlike many non-organic soy protein powders that use the chemical hexane during processing, Nutiva’s products are free of it. Instead, the brand’s vegan protein powders are cold-pressed. Its processing is also free from harmful and wasteful chemicals, making it a great zero-waste option.
This plant protein contains branched-chain amino acids and all nine essential amino acids. For options, Nutiva’s plant protein variants come in Peak Protein and Fiber Plus, each of which has a variety of sizes. Nutiva also stocks an Organic Hemp Protein Powder Shake Mix that comes in either a vanilla or chocolate flavor.
Apart from eliminating the harsh chemical from its processing, another zero-waste commitment is through its packaging. The brand’s zero or low-waste protein powders come in BPA-free, post-consumer recycled plastic containers. Although not a plastic-free container, the use of recycled tubes plays a role in sustainability.
In addition to its conscious product decisions, Nutiva operates a zero-waste headquarters and warehouse. It also operates various social impact initiatives to empower farmers, combat climate change, and provide food education. From its eco-friendly initiatives to conscious packaging, Nutiva makes the list.
If you love the peanut butter taste and are looking for a protein powder that delivers it, you can explore NorCal’s option. This organic protein powder is gluten-free and GMO-free. It also contains no added sugars, flavors, or colors. You can easily add this clean and healthy option to your smoothies and shakes without worrying about the extra fat.
To start its processing, NorCal derives its Spanish variety peanuts from Southwest Texas family farms. Instead of employing chemical or solvent-intensive methods, NorCal goes for mechanical processing. As a result, it’s free from the use of solvents to make vegan-friendly protein powder. NorCals plant protein goes through testing by independent labs to search for impurities like heavy metals and aflatoxin.
As part of its commitment to eco-friendly practices, NorCal works with farmers prioritizing sustainable farming. Through this, it pays attention to its processes to ensure delivering eco-friendly products.
Besides its peanut butter powder, NorCal also offers plant protein products like pea protein and an animal-based option like whey protein. The company uses cold-processed microfiltration to convert liquid whey to powder for its whey option. It also employs small batch drying and avoids bleach or acid processing.
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Four Sigmatic’s plant protein powder contains clean ingredients that also support your immune system. Each container is superfood-packed in addition to delivering its protein powder that comes with pure plant protein. It also contains functional mushrooms and adaptogens.
Four Sigmatic’s protein powder is technically unflavoured, unlike many brands that create specific flavors. However, the brand uses natural flavors to sweeten the product, giving it a unique taste. The company uses natural ingredients like organic coconut palm sugar, lucuma, pink Himalayan salt, cinnamon, and monk fruit. Best of all, it contains no artificial flavorings or stevia.
Four Sigmatic uses clean protein powder variants like organic American pea protein, chia, pumpkin, hemp, and coconut protein. Although not coming in perfect zero-waste packaging, Four Sigmatic uses recyclable metal packaging containers and offers refills so you can reuse them. The brand’s offering is also free from plastic scoops that can elicit waste. Each scoop (bring your own) provides a smooth consistency you can add to your baked goods or smoothies.
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From protein shakes, to bars, and powders, Aloha offers a range of plant-based ingredients to deliver nutritional value. Its powder variants are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and stevia. Each ingredient adheres to organic standards by staying free of toxic chemicals.
The protein blend includes ingredients like pea protein, hemp seed protein, brown rice protein, and pumpkin seed protein. This product is versatile, and you can add it to your shakes, smoothies, and snacks. When shopping with Aloha, you can decide to choose from either the chocolate or vanilla flavor.
Like many other companies, it can be hard to be completely zero-waste. Regardless, Aloha is one of those striving for better. Part of the company’s commitment lies in its choice of packaging. Rather than using packaging materials that are destined to contribute to waste, Aloha uses recyclable options. This supports a closed-loop system whereby materials go through cycles of use and reuse.
Initially, the company used to offer plastic-free protein powder variants that came in recyclable and reusable tins. However, it transitioned to using post-consumer recycled plastic. In addition, Aloha’s commitment is reflected in its certifications. The company is a certified B Corporation, Fair Trade Certified, USDA Organic, and NON-GMO Project Verified.
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Although Vivo Life doesn’t sell itself as the epitome of a zero-waste company, we highlight it for its constant commitment to change. As it has moved and grown over the years, the company has been transparent about its journey. Its journey to plastic-free has had its ups and downs, but we appreciate it for its dedication.
Vivo Life offers various plant-based products, including superfoods and protein supplements. One of its popular offerings is the Perform variant. This product is a raw plant protein and BCAA blend that also includes turmeric and digestive enzymes. This mixture supports you to not only train harder but also recover faster. You select either a small or large pouch and explore flavors like Madagascar Vanilla, Raw Cacao, and Salted Maca Caramel.
Vivo Life also offers options like a Strawberry and Vanilla blend, Banana and Cinnamon blend, and Acai and Blueberry. With no added sugars and vegan sources like pea protein, Perform offers a range of nutritional values and a strong amino acids profile.
Although currently a plastic-free protein powder, this product wasn’t always at this stage. The company started by using recyclable tubes before moving to food-grade plastic pouches. After looking for new ways to move towards being a plastic-free company, the brand began to create pouch options that support home composting.
Its new packaging comes from plants and is therefore plastic-free. Instead of hustling to find an industrial compost facility, you can place the compostable bag in your garden or food waste. The company also discontinued using plastic scoops to deliver a plastic-free protein powder as part of this plastic-free journey.
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Planet Protein is vocal about its commitment to ethical and sustainable practices. As a result, you can get information about their testing, ingredients, and sustainable programs. As part of its journey towards being a low-impact company, Planet Protein started a zero-waste recycling program.
The company encourages customers to send their empty protein bags back to reduce the impact of its wrappers and bags. Afterward, the company sends these bags to specialty recyclers for handling. Best of all, when they send their protein bags back, customers get rewarded with Planet Points.
This brand gives you organic and nutrient-packed bags with two flavors, Chocolate Magic and Vanilla Magic. This product contains nine organic ingredients that the company ethically and sustainably sources. Each product doesn’t contain fillers, gums, or added sugars.
One of the reasons we also highlight this brand and its products is due to its transparency. On the product site, you can find its heavy metal test results visibly displayed.
As its name suggests, Vitally Vegan is a vegan company. It offers plant-based vegan protein powder that also contains superfoods and amino acids. One of the best properties of its powders is that they dissolve quickly in water while delivering a smooth taste and texture.
Unlike some powders, you don’t get an overly flavored or artificial taste that can feel overwhelming. Vitally Vegan offers flavors like Blueberry, Coconut, Chocolate and Coconut, and Salted Caramel. Apart from mixing it with water or other liquids, you can use these powders to create high-protein goodies or desserts. These deliver impressive flavors without the addition of overpowering artificial sweeteners.
A unique offering from this brand is its starter packs. Each pack comes with one jar, a scoop, and a bag of protein. Each jar comes in glass material, while the brand’s refills come in brown paper. In addition, the company delivers its products using cardboard boxes—NB ships from the UK with international shopping available for a small cost.
Many protein powder products deliver their promises in terms of nutritional value. However, with the rate at which production pollutes the planet, it’s important to consider sustainability. In this light, some protein powder brands are switching to zero and low-waste practices. In this article, you’ll find functional and intentional options.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.