In a world where sustainability is becoming increasingly important, even the simplest choices can have a profound impact. One such choice is the soap we use daily. Traditional soaps often contain chemicals that can harm the environment and linger long after they are washed away. But there’s a solution: biodegradable soap.
Biodegradable soaps offer an environmentally friendly alternative for personal hygiene, cleaning, and outdoor adventures. These soaps are designed to break down naturally, reducing their impact on ecosystems.
In this article, we’ll learn more about these products. So keep on reading.
What Does Biodegradable Mean?
The use of terms like “degradable,” “biodegradable,” and “compostable” is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States when it comes to marketing environmental benefits. The FTC’s Green Guides provide guidelines on when these terms can be used.
For “degradable” claims to be made, marketers must be able to prove that the entire product or package will completely break down and return to nature within a reasonably short period of time after typical disposal. The FTC defines a reasonably short period of time for the complete decomposition of solid waste products as one year.
Regarding the term “compostable,” marketers need to have competent and reliable scientific evidence that all materials in the product or package will safely break down into usable compost, and they should do so at approximately the same time as the other materials with which they are composted.
Despite these guidelines, some marketers still misuse these terms in a deceptive manner. In the past, the FTC has issued warning letters to marketers and sellers of dog waste bags for making potentially misleading claims of being biodegradable or compostable.
As a result, it can be challenging to determine whether a soap or bathing wipe marketed as biodegradable or compostable truly meets these claims. This emphasizes the importance of being a discerning consumer. It’s advisable to purchase from brands that you trust, use soap in a manner that aligns with Leave No Trace principles, properly dispose of used wipes and packaging, and consult ingredient lists to understand the composition of the product.
In summary, it’s crucial to exercise caution and make informed choices when it comes to products labeled as biodegradable or compostable. Trustworthy brands, responsible usage, proper waste management, and ingredient awareness can help ensure environmentally friendly practices. If you want you can also check an article on why you need a soap dispenser.
What are Biodegradable Soaps?
Biodegradable soaps are cleansing products that are specifically formulated to break down and decompose in a natural environment. Unlike traditional soaps that contain harsh chemicals and synthetic ingredients, biodegradable soaps are typically made from natural and plant-based substances that can be easily broken down by bacteria and other microorganisms.
These soaps are designed to minimize environmental impact, as they do not leave behind harmful residues or pollutants that can harm ecosystems and water sources. Biodegradable soaps are commonly used in outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and backpacking, where responsible waste disposal and environmental stewardship are paramount. By choosing biodegradable soaps, individuals can enjoy cleanliness and hygiene while also contributing to a cleaner and healthier planet.
Types of Biodegradable Soap
There are different types of biodegradable soap available, each with its own characteristics and uses. Here are the main types commonly used by campers and backpackers:
Liquid soap is widely popular among outdoor enthusiasts due to its convenience and versatility. It can be easily stored in small, leakproof containers such as travel-sized Nalgene bottles. Liquid soap allows you to use only the amount you need and can be used for various purposes, including washing hands, face, hair, clothing, and dishes.
Bar soap offers similar benefits to liquid soap but may be slightly messier to pack and store. It can also be heavier and bulkier compared to other soap options. While we did not test bar soaps for this guide, our top pick, Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap, is also available in bar form.
Soap sheets, also known as soap leaves, are thin, dry sheets of soap that come in compact, pocket-sized containers. To create a soapy lather, you simply pull out a sheet and wet it. Soap sheets are primarily designed for washing hands and dishes, but they may not be as convenient for use as a body wash. It’s worth noting that once a soap sheet gets wet, it tends to stick to the skin, requiring more water to rinse off. Additionally, the containers for soap sheets are not waterproof, so care must be taken to keep them dry. Otherwise, the sheets can become a lump of regular soap when wet.
Bathing wipes are an alternative to biodegradable soap. These are cleaning wipes that can be used to wipe away dirt and grime from the skin. While some claim to be biodegradable or compostable, it is still essential to pack them out and dispose of them properly. Bathing wipes offer the advantage of being quick, convenient, and requiring no water for use.
How to Make Biodegradable Soap?
Creating biodegradable soap bars allows you to have control over the ingredients used. While there are commercial herbal soap products available, making your own soap provides an opportunity for creativity and customization.
One option is to use soap nuts, also known as soapberries, which are the fruit of the Sapindus tree. These organic, scent-free, and biodegradable soap nuts contain a high quantity of surfactants called saponins. They can be utilized as natural and eco-friendly alternatives for dish soaps and detergents. Furthermore, the remaining soap nut shells can be composted, resulting in no wastage.
Other ingredients commonly used in making biodegradable soaps include lye (sodium hydroxide) and natural oils like palm oil and coconut oil. To enhance the soap’s natural scents and colors, dried flowers or berries can be added to the soap-making process.
By making your own biodegradable soap, you contribute to reducing the environmental impact caused by synthetic additives while having the freedom to experiment with various natural ingredients.
How to Use Biodegradable Soap in an Environmentally Conscious Manner?
It’s important to remember that even biodegradable soap can have negative effects on the ecosystem. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics provides guidance on how to minimize these impacts:
Avoid Water Sources
It is not recommended or acceptable to allow any soap, including biodegradable soap, to enter water sources. The presence of soap can cause various issues, including increased nitrogen levels and harm to aquatic life.
Instead of disposing of soapy water directly into water sources, it is recommended to pour it into a cathole. The cathole should be approximately 6 to 8 inches deep and located at least 200 feet away from any water sources. This method has several advantages, including minimizing wildlife attraction compared to the “broadcast method” and allowing the soil’s bacteria to naturally biodegrade the soap.
Carry Water Away
When using biodegradable soap in outdoor settings, it’s crucial to be prepared to carry water away from water sources for proper disposal. Bring a suitable container, such as a pot, bottle, or water reservoir, to transport the soapy water away from natural water sources.
Many biodegradable soaps are concentrated, meaning that only small amounts are needed for effective use. It is advisable to use minimal quantities of soap since a little goes a long way. Some products, like Dr. Bronner’s soap, even emphasize the importance of diluting the soap for optimal usage.
The Advantages of Using Biodegradable Soaps
Biodegradable soaps offer several benefits due to their sustainable nature and use of natural ingredients. Here are the key advantages of using biodegradable soaps:
Improved Water Quality
Biodegradable soaps do not contain harmful chemical additives that can contaminate water and affect aquatic life. Unlike regular soaps, the soap suds from biodegradable soaps are less harmful, ensuring better water quality.
Minimal Exposure to Harmful Chemicals
Regular soaps often contain chemicals such as triclosan, sulfates (SLS and SLES), and parabens, which can cause skin irritation and have potentially harmful effects. Biodegradable soaps, on the other hand, are free from these harmful ingredients, reducing the risk of adverse skin reactions.
Enhanced Skin and Hair Quality
Many biodegradable soaps are made from natural ingredients that contain beneficial compounds like vitamins, proteins, and other bioactive substances. These nourish the skin and hair, promoting overall health and protection against various skin issues.
Rich in Antioxidants
Organic soaps, being biodegradable, are often rich in antioxidants. These natural compounds act as preservatives and can potentially improve the shelf life of the soap. Unlike synthetic compounds used as preservatives in regular soaps, these antioxidants are healthier for your body.
Prevention of Animal Cruelty
Biodegradable soap manufacturers typically adhere to humane and cruelty-free approaches, avoiding animal testing. By choosing eco-friendly products, you contribute to preventing animal cruelty associated with product testing. Natural products usually do not require any testing, and even if they are tested, they are unlikely to have harmful effects.
Reduced Environmental Pollution
Biodegradable soaps use environmentally friendly ingredients that minimize pollution caused by the extensive release of soap suds into the environment. The production process of natural soaps also tends to be more environmentally conscious, reducing overall environmental impact.
Support for Sustainable Practices
By choosing biodegradable soaps, you actively support sustainable practices and environmentally friendly initiatives. These soaps are made from naturally available materials using simple production techniques, reducing the reliance on synthetic and environmentally damaging substances. Your choice contributes to the demand for sustainable products, encouraging the adoption of eco-friendly practices by manufacturers.
Reduced Waste Generation
Biodegradable soaps are designed to break down naturally, leaving minimal residue or waste behind. Unlike conventional soaps that may contain non-biodegradable components, biodegradable soaps decompose and integrate into the environment without leaving a lasting ecological footprint. By using these soaps, you help minimize waste generation and promote a more sustainable approach to personal care.
Best 12 Biodegradable Sop
Now I’ll make you familiar with the 12 Best Biodegradable soaps.
1. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap
Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap is a highly versatile and concentrated biodegradable soap. It is made with organic oils and does not contain any synthetic preservatives or allergens. This soap stands out for its eco-friendly formulation and longevity. It offers 18 different uses, ranging from body and hair care to dishwashing and house cleaning. Whether you’re looking to cleanse your body or tackle household chores, Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap provides a reliable and sustainable option.
2. Wilderness Wash by Sea to Summit
Wilderness Wash by Sea to Summit is a concentrated biodegradable liquid soap designed for outdoor adventures. It can be used as a body wash, shampoo, and even a detergent for dishes or clothes. One of its key features is its compatibility with both fresh and saltwater, making it a convenient choice for camping, hiking, or other outdoor activities. While it has a sterile scent and a slightly higher cost compared to other options, its cleaning power and biodegradability make it a reliable and eco-friendly option.
3. Kirk’s Original Bar Soap
Kirk’s Original Bar Soap is an affordable and fragrance-free biodegradable soap that is particularly gentle on sensitive skin. It can be used as a body and hand wash and also serves as a base for homemade dish and laundry soap. While Kirk’s Original Bar Soap is known for its gentle formula, it may cause dryness with prolonged use. Nonetheless, its affordability and suitability for sensitive skin make it a popular choice among eco-conscious individuals.
4. Ursa Major Morning Mojo
Ursa Major Morning Mojo is a natural biodegradable soap that combines effective cleansing power with soothing and hydrating properties. Infused with volcanic rock exfoliants and energizing scents, this soap provides a refreshing and invigorating experience. While Ursa Major Morning Mojo may be more expensive and less versatile compared to other options, its durability and ability to cleanse and rejuvenate the skin make it a worthwhile investment.
5. Wilderness Wipes by Sea to Summit
Wilderness Wipes by Sea to Summit are extra-thick biodegradable wipes designed for daily face cleansing and full-body cleaning. These wipes are not only absorbent and pH balanced but also infused with aloe vera and vitamin E for added skin hydration. It is important to note that these wipes take time to break down, so it’s essential to pack them out with your trash to minimize environmental impact. Nevertheless, their affordability and convenience make them a popular choice for those on the go.
6. Trek and Travel Pocket by Sea to Summit
Trek and Travel Pocket soap sheets by Sea to Summit come in a compact design and offer various options for hand and body wash, conditioning shampoo, laundry, and shaving soap. These TSA-approved soap sheets are made from all-natural ingredients, making them a convenient choice for travel. However, it’s worth noting that they are not as versatile or concentrated as other soap types. Nonetheless, their compactness and travel-friendly nature make them a practical option for those on the move.
7. Cascade Forest Body Wash
Cascade Forest Body Wash is an all-natural, concentrated soap that provides versatility for a range of uses. It can be used as a body wash, shampoo, dish soap, laundry detergent, and more. One of its standout features is its unique pine scent derived from wildflowers, bark, and tree trimmings. However, this scent may be overpowering for some individuals. Despite that, its concentrated formula and multipurpose capabilities make it an appealing choice for eco-conscious consumers.
8. Mt. Mazama Rogue by United by Blue
Mt. Mazama Rogue soap by United by Blue is an eco-friendly soap made with organic ingredients and infused with bentonite clay for excellent cleaning power. Its rough exterior also provides gentle exfoliation, while the cedar and sage scent adds a refreshing touch. However, it is important to note that this soap comes at a higher price point and offers less versatility compared to other options.
Nevertheless, its sustainability and cleansing properties make it an attractive choice for those seeking an environmentally friendly soap.
9. Joshua Tree Body Wash
Joshua Tree Body Wash is a biodegradable soap infused with mint and tea tree oil, known for its natural antiseptic properties. This soap is particularly suitable for cleaning sores and cuts, and it can also be used as a dog shampoo, making it a versatile option for pet owners. While it may have a slightly weaker cleaning power compared to some alternatives, its light scent and clean ingredient list make it a popular choice among individuals who prioritize natural and gentle products.
10. Coleman Soap Sheets
Coleman Soap Sheets are a budget-friendly option for ultralight packers. Priced at $3.99 for a pack of 50 sheets, these soap sheets are lightweight and come in a compact plastic case. They are primarily designed for cleaning dishes and hands. Each sheet is single-use and can be dissolved in water for cleaning multiple items or used individually for hand washing.
The soap sheets work with both hot and cold water and are unscented. However, one drawback is that the sheets are smaller in size, which may require using multiple sheets for larger cleaning tasks. It’s also worth noting that while they are convenient for packing light, the cleaning power and concentration may be lower compared to other options.
11. Surviveware Biodegradable Wet Wipes
Surviveware Biodegradable Wet Wipes are known for their larger size and great cleaning power. These wipes are available in two options: a pack of 15 wipes weighing 8 ounces or a pack of 32 wipes weighing 17 ounces. They are designed specifically for personal hygiene and are 100% biodegradable, pH balanced, and hypoallergenic.
The wipes contain ingredients such as benzalkonium chloride, citric acid, aloe barbadense leaf juice, and vitamin E. They begin decomposing within 28 days, making them an environmentally friendly choice. However, one limitation of these wipes is their lack of versatility, as they are primarily intended for cleaning the body. Additionally, it’s important to note that while they can be composted, they take a longer time to break down compared to some other biodegradable wipes.
Campsuds is a versatile liquid soap that performs well in various cleaning tasks. Although it didn’t clean as effectively as Dr. Bronner’s in the testing, it still managed to remove the majority of oil from a plate.
Similar to Dr. Bronner’s, Campsuds is marketed as an all-purpose soap suitable for cleaning hands, face, hair, clothing, dishes, and anything washable. This broad range of uses makes it a convenient option for outdoor activities and camping trips.
Campsuds is a regular biodegradable soap, meaning it breaks down naturally in the environment. While it may not be as environmentally friendly as some specialized biodegradable soaps, it still offers decent performance.
The original formula of Campsuds has a mild pine scent, providing a pleasant aroma during use. Additionally, Campsuds is also available in a version that includes citronella, lavender, and peppermint oil. This particular version claims to help repel insects while bathing, making it an attractive choice for outdoor enthusiasts.
Some online retailers offer Campsuds in a 4-ounce Nalgene bottle. Nalgene bottles are known for their durability, leakproof design, and reusability, making them versatile containers for storing and carrying various items during outdoor activities. Purchasing a bottle of Campsuds in a Nalgene bottle can be a practical way to start building your camping supplies.
Is Dove Soap Biodegradable?
When it comes to the biodegradability of Dove Soap, there is limited information available from the brand itself. However, the essential ingredients in soap, such as oil, lye, and water, are naturally biodegradable. Dove Soap does not contain environmentally harmful materials like phosphate, triclocarban, and triclosan, which do not biodegrade. While it may not be explicitly stated, Dove Soap is considered environmentally tolerant and should not harm the environment upon contact.
Is Ivory Soap Biodegradable?
Ivory Soap, a popular brand known for its gentle formula and long-standing presence in the market, is a bar soap packaged in biodegradable paper. It is made from natural ingredients, which is an important factor in determining the biodegradability of a soap. Ivory Soap does not contain ingredients like triclosan and phosphate, which are known to persist in the environment. As a result, Ivory Soap breaks down efficiently and has a minimal impact on the environment. Additionally, it is an affordable option compared to other biodegradable soaps.
Does Soap Break Down in the Environment?
Soap, being a daily-use item, should ideally be made from environmentally sensitive ingredients. Studies have consistently shown that soap breaks down long before it can cause any significant harm to the environment. However, opting for biodegradable soap ensures the use of minimal and all-natural ingredients. These soaps have the least impact and are an eco-friendly choice. If you accidentally leave a bar of soap in the environment, rest assured that it will have broken down within six months, especially if it contains only essential ingredients like water, lye, and natural oils for scent.
Regular soap vs biodegradable soap
Here are some additional points to consider when comparing regular soap and biodegradable soap:
Regular soaps often contain synthetic ingredients, such as sulfates, parabens, and artificial fragrances, which can be harsh on the skin and may cause irritations or allergies. Biodegradable soaps, on the other hand, are typically made with natural and organic ingredients that are gentler on the skin and less likely to cause adverse reactions.
Biodegradable soaps are often produced using sustainable practices and renewable resources. Some biodegradable soaps are even packaged in eco-friendly materials, such as recyclable or compostable packaging, further reducing their environmental impact.
Waterways and Aquatic Life
When regular soap is washed off, the synthetic chemicals present in it can accumulate in waterways, leading to water pollution. This pollution can be harmful to aquatic life and disrupt the delicate balance of ecosystems. Biodegradable soaps, with their natural ingredients, are less likely to harm waterways and aquatic organisms when properly disposed of.
While regular soaps may eventually break down over time, biodegradable soaps are specifically formulated to degrade more quickly and completely. They are designed to be broken down by natural processes, such as bacteria and other microorganisms, reducing their persistence in the environment.
Personal and Environmental Health
Using biodegradable soaps can be beneficial for both personal health and the environment. The absence of synthetic chemicals and harsh additives in biodegradable soaps reduces the risk of skin irritations and allergic reactions. Additionally, by choosing biodegradable soaps, individuals contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment by reducing pollution and minimizing the impact on ecosystems.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Now let’s learn about some common queries on biodegradable soap
What is the most biodegradable soap?
Soap made with all-natural ingredients and no synthetics is considered the most biodegradable.
What is considered biodegradable soap?
Biodegradable soap is designed to be environmentally friendly and easily decomposed by natural processes. It contains ingredients that can be broken down by bacteria, enzymes, or other microorganisms found in nature. These ingredients are typically derived from plant-based or renewable sources, such as vegetable oils or coconut oil, rather than synthetic chemicals.
Is biodegradable soap really biodegradable?
Yes, biodegradable soap is truly biodegradable as it degrades over time when disposed of in soil, not in a waterway.
What’s the best biodegradable soap?
It is difficult to claim only 1 best soap. However, Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap is regarded as the best biodegradable soap.
That’s all I got on biodegradable soap. In conclusion, biodegradable soap offers a more environmentally-friendly alternative to regular soap. With its ability to break down into natural components over time, it minimizes harm to ecosystems and water sources. Choosing biodegradable soap can reduce our carbon footprint and protect the environment.
However, it’s crucial to use and dispose of biodegradable soap responsibly, following guidelines to ensure its effectiveness and prevent contamination