Essential vs. non-essential

Photo by Sarah Chai on

Our body is 70% water.

But our brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.

Water is essential.

It’s not always essential though. At least in the case of soaps, detergents, shampoos, or dish soaps.

It’s only important at a stage when the users use it. Therefore, when using soaps, water is an additive. It can be added downstream instead of upstream.

Before liquid shampoos and shower gels, there were soap bars. And now they are back!

They are back because when you order or buy a shower gel for instance, you are essentially ordering a lot of water, which is easily available in your house. When you buy any soap, shampoo, or detergent in the liquid form, you are paying for a lot of water.

Why switch to solid soaps?

  • You end up using (read: wasting) a lot more liquid soap compared to using solid soap.
  • You are lowering your carbon footprint. Solid bars are lighter to transport and take less space.
  • You are saving resources that go into packaging solid bars. A simple paper wrap or a paper label around a solid bar does the job. Some bars even have their brand name etched on them so they are packaging-free.
  • You are probably supporting local small businesses that make solid bars.
  • You are saving energy that goes into producing liquid soaps and their associated packaging.
  • You can use solid bars or powder for shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, and even for dish soap.

What’s the downside?

If your solid bar soap has vegetable oil (read: palm oil), it’s probably contributing to a lot of land use and deforestation. Comparatively, liquid soaps use petroleum-based synthetic surfactants.

No eco-friendly product is perfect, therefore what you choose depends entirely on your values and what you personally choose to balance in this world. What do you think is essential?

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