Soap Packaging Varies Widely
Recycling and saving gasoline are currently among the most highly touted ways to save the Earth. Oh, my bad! Don’t let me forget switching to CFL lightbulbs. This is probably the iconic, Eco-Friendly photo you’ll see anywhere, except for perhaps the recycle icon or symbol itself.
Anyway, the purpose of this post is simply to get you thinking about the packaging your purchases are wrapped in. This is one area that is less talked about, and yet can have a tremendous impact on our landfill space, as well as the toxins we deposit there.
Take a look at the photo above. These are my 3 favorite soaps that I can buy at many local healthy food stores. Can you guess which packaging is the most Earth friendly? Tricky, huh?
Let’s start at the right. The Clearly Natural glycerine soap is wrapped so that you can see the product. This is appealing to many consumers, so it often has the desired effect–a purchase. However, plastic or celophane wrappers, plastered with a large, metallic sticker, don’t even begin to make the sustainable list for packaging.
Moving on to the Tom’s soap in the middle, we see, at first glance, that the box is recycled paperboard. This stuff is compostable or recyclable, thus making it highly sustainable, even though it originally came from one of our coveted trees. Once again, though, there’s a catch. If you open the box, you’ll find that the soap inside is wrapped in clear celophane. Major blunder on Tom’s part. I wish they would drop the plastic wrap, although I understand they’re trying to give the product a longer shelf life. Soap doesn’t exactly have a problem in this area, as compared to other products. They could earn consumer ‘brownie points’ by losing the inner wrap, in my opinion.
Finally, at left, you’ll find the Sappo soap, labeled simply with a sticker. I found this quite surprising the first time I saw it. The bars were just stacked in a shipping box on the shelf. If I remember correctly, the ingredients were printed on the shipping box, as there is nothing much on the sticker–just a name, ‘flavor’ (almond, in this case), and a bar code for price scanning. Awesome! Despite the fact that you can’t recycle or compost the sticker, it still is the clear winner because of its size. And of course, there is NO other packaging.
I hope this little exercise will get you to watch your many other purchases. Every product category has its own variations, and there often is one company who has found a way to beat the system. Look for them. Support them. Drop them an email and let them know you appreciate their efforts. Vote for Earth.