Does your soap leave an en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print?

The Tribune (NZ) - - SQUARE CIRCULAR -

Did you know the type of soap you use in your bath­room can make a dif­fer­ence to the size of your en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print?

Let’s face it, bub­bles are fun, and a sign we’re get­ting what­ever we’re wash­ing clean, be it our hair, hands, clothes or dishes. Let’s take the soap we use to wash our hands with. We spend thou­sands of dol­lars a year in order to wash the dirt from our skin, so skin-clean­ing prod­ucts can have a big im­pact on our en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print. There has been a shift toward us­ing liq­uid soaps with claims the con­tain­ers look stylish and are clean and easy-to-use com­pared to bar soaps which tend to be un­hy­gienic and messy leav­ing hard-to-shift residue on sur­faces. How­ever, with no real dif­fer­ences in clean­ing abil­i­ties, let’s look at the en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors. Bar soap is made by ad­ding lye (sodium hy­drox­ide) to an­i­mal or veg­etable fats or oils. Al­most all soaps use palm or co­conut oil so check that you are buy­ing from en­vi­ron­men­tally aware man­u­fac­tur­ers who use sus­tain­ably sourced palm oil. Most liq­uid soaps on the other hand are ac­tu­ally syn­thetic de­ter­gents. Sev­eral of the in­gre­di­ents used in them are de­rived from pe­tro­leum prod­ucts. Bar soaps tend to use less pack­ag­ing and some do come in biodegrad­able card­board boxes. Try to avoid any with un­nec­es­sary plas­tic over­wraps. Liq­uid soaps come in plas­tic bot­tles so they are al­ways go­ing to be more en­ergy-in­ten­sive to pro­duce. Look for con­tain­ers that are re­cy­clable. Also, the main in­gre­di­ent of liq­uid soaps is wa­ter, which means they are heav­ier and bulkier than bar soap and re­quire more fos­sil fuel en­ergy to trans­port an equiv­a­lent amount. So, if you want to re­duce your home's car­bon foot­print, buy­ing or mak­ing bar soaps is a step in the right di­rec­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.