Simple Swaps – No.1 Soaps

Written by Hannah Russel of Viveco, Mallorca.

When attempting to reduce your plastic use it can sometimes feel overwhelming. It is an evolving process with different levels of commitment needed to implement changes. It is fairly easy to change from buying a standard plastic toothbrush to a bamboo, or to commit to carrying a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic bottles. Other changes can seem much more daunting (Menstural Cup, ladies? Safety Razors?). Moving towards a zerowaste lifestyle has so many positive aspects aside from reducing waste, it also saves you time and money. It’s easy to become overwhelmed if you attempt to change to much at ones, and I have found it easiest to concentrate on making one clear change at a time and mixing the ‘easier swaps’ in with the more challenging ones.
The blog will introduce some of the simple swaps and give tips for the more challenging ones – hopefully it will help you to make the changes!
Most toiletries come packaged in single use plastic bottles, they clutter up your bathroom, are full of unpronounceable chemicals and are (sometimes eye-wateringly) expensive. Advertisers spend millions convincing us that we NEED their product to be smoother/shinier/glossier, but this is far from the truth. There are a huge number of soap bars available and you need to find the ones that works for you and your skin. At we stock a range of the completely natural, handmade ‘Friendly’ Soap range at €3.75 per soap bar. They are produced with no waste and completely plastic free packaging – we absolutely love their products and their ethics find out more about them here.
  • In addition to reducing your waste, and exposure to chemicals this swap can save you a lot of money. A bar of soap is significantly cheaper than its bottled equivalent and lasts longer.
  • Instead of having a cluttered shower filled with half empty bottles you can combine body wash/shaving foam/body wash into one bar. This creates a much more stylish, simplified and calming feeling in your bathroom.
  • When travelling it is much more convenient to use bars rather than bulk bottles, and they can go in your hand luggage!
  • Be prepared – find an alternative that you like and stock up with a few bars. If you run out of an item before you have an alternative it will seem easier to grab a bottle from the supermarket again.
  • Use or donate what you have – don’t waste what you have already. Use up the products you have and dispose of the bottles in the best way available. If you have a ‘stock’ you don’t want to use consider donating to homeless shelters or other charities which can use these items.
  • Make sure you have somewhere suitable to store your soap bar, I prefer a slatted wooden stand so the water can drain away. My colleague Monica, pierces a hole in her bars with a metal skewer and leads a string through so they can hang and dry between uses. The important part is the soap need to dry out sometimes or it gets ‘soggy’ and doesn’t last as long.
  • Find something that works for you. If you don’t like the way a certain soap smells or makes your skin feel you will be tempted to go back to your old product.
  • Swapping your shampoo for a bar shampoo can be a big change as the feel is different and can take some adjusting. Start with swapping your bodywash/shaving gel and then move onto your shampoo/facewash
  • Compromise/Improvise – At the moment I still haven’t found an alternative to conditioner that works for me. Instead I buy the biggest bottle I can and dilute it into a spray bottle. A bottle that used to last me 2 weeks can now last me 2 months.

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