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Bar Soap vs. Liquid Soap: What's the cost for our Budget and for the Environment?

Normally busy choosing good looking fabrics and crafting pretty - and useful! - things, today I would like to go back to one of my favorite topics, the environment.

And, for this, I chose to broach the incredibly glamorous subject of rubbish collection and the impact it has on our daily lives. 😚

My London borough council recently introduced a new waste pick up schedule and, as a result, the kind men who are appointed to the task, come to take "ordinay" rubbish (black bins for UK readers) half as often as they used to.


This might seem like an inconvenience but it is really a blessing in disguise as it is finally pushing all Lambeth residents to get on with proper food waste separation - in order not to have smelly bins we are all keen to be a bit more careful with this acitvity - and also, as recycling collection stayed the same, we are inclined to make the most of our green bins by disposing of things properly.


Call to action for all environmentalists to do a little celebratory cartwheel here. yey!


The weekly collection of recyclables means that there is more of them and, by the time collection day arrives, bins are often overflowing with glass, cardboard and lots of plastic (alas still!).


I was already kind of obsessed with this and now even more.


I have always gone to the supermarket with my zero waste hat on and am forever looking at products imagining how much of what I put in my trolley will actually end up in the bin, but this latest development has made me take things to a different level.


Having disposed of a ginormous bottle of shower gel that took up a large portion of my green bin, this last couple of days I have been researching the topic of shower gel v bars of soap and I found some interesting facts.





Firstly let us look at what we are putting on our skin, and ultimately back into the environment via our domestic plumbing.


Ethical Consumer magazine in an amazingly informative article by Jane turner give us a detailed account of what to look for, and avoid, when shopping for this everyday, essential item.


As I suspected: "From an environmental point of view, the bar of soap is the overall winner. It also tends to have a smaller list of simple ingredients."


in a nutshell:


"The environmental impact of liquid soap is thought to be higher due to the fact it

  • Is heavier: Containing lots of water, liquid soaps are likely to be heavier than bar soap, resulting in a higher carbon footprint for transportation.

  • Involves more packaging: Packaging for body washes and liquid soaps tend to be plastic bottles, that if not recycled can end up landfilled, littered, or incinerated.. Even if the bottle is made from recycled plastic, a thin paper wrapper or no wrapper for soap bars is better.

  • Contains petroleum: Many shower gels and body washes are made of petroleum-derived synthetic detergents and need emulsifying agents and stabilisers to maintain their consistency.

  • Damages aquatic life: What you use on your body ends up in the water system. Liquid detergents may contain harmful substances that can bioaccumulate in living organisms.




To add to my sense of disdain towards shower gels goes the look of their plastic containers, I have always considered them naff and cheap looking, with their mostly garish labels and, in the new bathrooms, even more so.


I much prefer a lovely, unique, hand crafted soap dish to hold a rustic looking bar of soap, maybe with in built in scrub effect (I especially like coffee for its skin awakening properties).


Check out the gorgeous, pastel coloured collection of ceramics by Partridge&partridge, I adore these.



As for the bars themselves I love the Friendly soap range, they also do solid shampoo and shaving bars; they smell beautifully and are very reasonably priced, plus, considering that solid soap lasts six times longer than the liquid equivalent, they are practically a steal.

What makes them my top tip is the fact they have a reduced packaging range. Check it out:


sandalwood bars of soap with reduced packaging
The patchouli and sandalwood bars - my favourite!


Keep up the good work Friendly soap p[eople - we love you!




As consumers we all have power, let's use it wisely <3


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