Living Through Interesting Times
Living Through Interesting Times….
It didn’t take long for me to decide what to write about this month. With COVID-19 rapidly transforming all of our lives at the moment, one of the most important things we can do to stay healthy is to wash our hands. Let’s talk about soap.
Liquid hand soap is very popular these days. Because liquid soap is made with water, bar soap is actually a better environmental choice – especially for those of us who live in drought prone parts of the country. That being said, I find that whenever I use bar soap to wash my hands, I develop a rash underneath my wedding ring; whereas when I use liquid hand soap, I don’t have a problem. Thus, even though it would be better for this California girl to use bar soap for everything, I only use bar soap in the shower.
Most liquid soap that you buy in the market is packaged in plastic, which is yet another environmentally irresponsible addition to liquid soap buying. Moreover, many of the ingredients in commercially made liquid soap are also environmentally harmful: Phthalates, for example, have been linked to cancer and fertility issues in dolphins.
If, like me, you prefer to use a liquid hand soap for your hands, where do you turn? Here are some possibilities for you:
Plaine Products makes 2 very nice liquid hand soaps. What I love about Plaine is that they are packaged in aluminum. When you finish up a bottle, you return it to Plaine Products in the box that it came in so that the bottle can be used again. I always ask for the free return label to be added to my order, and that way I have it ready to go whenever I use up a bottle of soap. One additional note: When you order from Plaine Products, you will be asked if you need a pump. They are happy to send you a pump for their soap, which you can then reuse for your next bottle of soap, and so on.
Blueland also makes a nice foaming hand soap with a very green footprint. They have a variety of scents available. The folks at Blueland will send you a glass “Forever Bottle” with your first soap order. The soap comes as a tablet, which you mix with warm or hot water in order to make your soap. I have found that it can take at least an hour for the tablet to dissolve but once it does, the soap does its job well!
Grove products also offers liquid soaps that come in a variety of packaging, including their own brand. They use a plastic pouch to refill a glass bottle which they send to you. You can return the plastic pouch to them for recycling. At the moment, they are completely out of their house brand of soap, but it should be back in stock before too much longer.
Seed Soaps come in bottles that are wrapped in post-consumer paper which reinforces the very thin plastic liner inside. They say the liners use 60% less plastic than do traditional bottles. Each bottle also contains a seed packet, which is kind of a fun idea. This being said, you still have to figure out how to recycle the plastic liner, as well as the plastic pump.
Finally, you can make your own liquid hand soap using Dr. Bronner’s liquid Castille soap (yes, it comes in plastic but one bottle will last you a very long time, and it can be made into many other great household cleaners – more on that next month!), an essential oil of your choosing, and water. I have included one example recipe in my links below.
As we prepare for this very fraught next several weeks, please do your very best to stay safe and healthy. Wash your hands, do not touch your face, keep six feet of distance between you and other people when you are out and about. If you are younger, and less concerned about contracting COVID-19, please remember that you could become a vector and inadvertently give it to someone who is at higher risk for complications than are you.
Remember that our tradition teaches that to save one life is to save the entire world. Let’s take care of each other, as we take care of this beautiful planet on which we live.
Phthalates and dolphins https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/09/news-dolphins-plastic-chemical-traces-found/
Plaine Products https://www.plaineproducts.com
Grove Collaborative https://www.grove.co/home
Homemade hand soap https://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/diy-liquid-hand-soap/