Looking for some simple things to change that allows you to lessen your impact on the environment in a big way? Here’s one that might seem simple and small, but if everyone changed, it could impact the environment from a number of different angles – switch from liquid soap to bar soap. Soap is such a little thing, but it’s something that we all use every day. Switching from liquid soap to bar soaps has so many benefits that it’s hard to know where to start (in fact, I keep re-arranging the order of the sections below – feel free to skip around when reading them!)
Support local merchants and artists
Many artists and small craftsmen make bar soap. You can support artisans through purchasing their soaps. Soaps made by individuals in their homes typically contain all natural ingredients and essential oils for scents, rather than harsh chemicals or artificial fragrances. Buying bar soaps from farmers markets and craft fairs is another way to buy local.
Avoid artificial ingredients, and harsh chemicals
Even if you do not have access to local artisans that make soap, there are companies that make all natural bar soaps with no harsh chemicals of artificial fragrances, such as Tom’s of Maine. You can also find a large variety of handmade bar soaps on Etsy.
Liquid soap almost always comes in plastic containers. Plastic is made from oil and isn’t biodegradable. Bar soap is usually wrapped in paper and may come in a cardboard box. The paper and cardboard come from renewable resources and are often recyclable. Soap bought from a local artist or a natural foods store may not be wrapped at all.
Skip shipping liquids
Liquid soap is heavier than bar soap because it is mostly water. When you ship bottles of liquid soap it takes more energy to move the liquids from where they are manufactured, to the store to your home.
Use less soap, Use only what you need
When you use bar soap you tend to use only what you need and therefore you use less soap, which is good for your skin and good for the environment. It’s also good for your wallet. You’ll spend less on soap.
Update: Bar Shampoo
We’ve discovered bar shampoos as well, which have all the same advantages as above. We haven’t found any locally (yet) but we really loved the J. R. Liggetts Shampoo for how naturally clean it left our hair!
But I love my exfoliating poof-thing!
|Actual pieces of oatmeal in the soap|
You can get exfoliating bar soaps. We have one with actual oatmeal in it that gives a nice exfoliating, but not gritty, feel when you rub the bar on your body. If you want, you can rub the soap onto your poof-thing and wash that way. I actually have an oatmeal bar for washing and a smooth bar for rubbing on my legs before shaving (I use a bar soap instead of a female shaving cream or lotion, it’s much more cost effective and cuts down on the number of personal care products I need).
Take the One Month Bar Soap Challenge!
Not convinced that bar soap is the way to go for you? Take the One Month Bar Soap Challenge. Buy one bar of soap – spend as little as $2 or as much as $7 on a bar of soap, put it in your shower, and use it for one month. Then come back and tell us what you think about using bar soap!
Tell us: What’s your favorite soap?