Soap bar

095: Use soap and shampoo bars instead of gels and liquids

Cost of taking action: £/$/€ FREE

Switch to using soap and shampoo bars!

This simple action costs nothing (or even saves you money) and can remove a source of single-use plastic pollution from your home – liquid gel soap and shampoo containers.

It’s another one of those easy wins.

Bars generally last longer than gels and liquids and so work out cheaper. Also, there is no need to compromise on quality because today’s modern soap and shampoo bars are a long way from the scratchy medicated stuff of a few years ago. Many advocates of bars point out that they can be much kinder to your skin in fact – containing more moisturisers and not containing some of the potentially harmful chemicals used in coloured, heavily fragranced gels.

The key thing here for us of course is that you can buy your soap and shampoo bars in recyclable paper packaging, or even, in some specialist shops, with no packaging at all … how cool is that!

So that means no plastic gel bottles, with their metal spring pump actions, to foul up our waste systems.

Why is this important?

  • Plastic is made from oil (fossil fuel), encouraging a massively polluting industry
  • Plastics are made, deliberately, to be long lasting, so they do not break down once discarded
  • Single use plastics like gel bottles are a massive, unnecessary, and expensive waste of these resources
  • All plastics end up in one of these places:
    • landfill, where it remains, leaching poisons, for decades or centuries
    • incinerators, which are polluting (especially older plants)
    • the land environment (litter) where it pollutes and reduces our own quality of life
    • the marine environment, where it pollutes and kills, and enters our own food chain

About 350 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year, half of which is only ever used once. This plastic does not biodegrade, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, into what are called microplastics and (increasingly) nanoplastics. Microplastics are found in sealife, including in the fish we eat, and we know that chemicals from plastic can cause cancer, birth defects and developmental problems in children.

Anything we can do to reduce or eliminate use of single-use plastic will help to combat the tide of plastic pollution that is poisoning our environment, especially our oceans.

Take action

It’s easy … next time you put “soap” or “shampoo” on your shopping list, make sure you buy bars, not plastic bottles!

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