Fight the Plastic Invasion with Handmade Herbal Soaps
Is your bathroom stacked with plastic bottles, from shampoo, soap and conditioner to face scrubs and makeup? Are you aware of how many disposable coffee cups, take take-out Styrofoam containers, supermarket food products packaged in plastic, plastic bags and over-packaged everyday products you have used during your lifetime? Plastic is everywhere.
Packaging is the main source of plastic waste. In Finland it accounts for 50% per cent of it and in many other countries the percentage is even higher. The amount of plastic produced worldwide is disturbing and the amount is increasing all the time. The production of plastic is 20 times bigger today as it was 1964. It’s estimated that the amount will double during the next 20 years and it might quadruple by year 2050. 95 percent of plastic packing is used only once. 5% is recycled.
Plastic never dies. Any piece of plastic ever created remains on this earth and it has made its way into oceans, forests and rivers. Even recycling consumes its own shameful amount of energy without actually stopping plastic production, which is still alive and well. Recycling is of course a better thing than tons of plastic lying around but still we should rethink our use of plastic.
Imagine a garbage truck full of plastic spilled to the ocean every minute. That is the amount of plastic that ends up in the oceans. In the next decades there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans when the fish stock decreasing.
Every single piece of plastic that has ever been created since the 19th century is still somewhere on our planet. So if it never goes away, where does it go?
Isn’t it time to do something about this plastic issue?
It’s inspiring to read about new packaging solutions like Sulapac that is a biodegradable package made of renewable and sustainable raw materials. Only wood from sustainably managed Nordic forests is used and the low carbon footprint packages contain no harmful components. Sulapac can be processed like plastics and it is the first mass-producible premium eco-packaging in the world. We have the solutions, so now would be the time to take them in use.
We as consumers can also do our part. We can choose cosmetics and food packaged in recyclable or biodegradable packages. We can buy products that don’t need packages at all and we can demand supermarkets and shops to add package-free products and environmentally friendly packages to their range. We can use durable reusable bags, straws, mugs and water bottles to keep single-use plastics away. We can prefer the use of other materials to plastics.
Do it yourself
Eco-consciousness should never be boring or difficult. There are a lot of fun ways to be environmentally aware and reduce the use of plastics. Making handmade soap and shampoo is one example of fighting the plastic dominance in our lives.
I’m not a heavy user of cosmetics but I still have a shameful amount of plastic in my bathroom. I usually use soap and shampoo bars but still somehow plastic is present in my cosmetic care routines. I’ve read about diy cosmetics but I’ve always believed that it would be too difficult for me to do even though I’ve worked as a researcher in over a decade and I love chemistry. It turned out that making soap and shampoo is like baking or actually even easier than baking.
To pamper your skin make a soap bar with marigold. The antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of marigold helps in healing skin ailments such as acne, athlete’s foot, candida, burns, rashes, calluses, corns, eczema and many more.
For one soap bar you'll need:
28g Shea Butter
1tsp Marigold oil
A handful of dried Marigold
A pinch of turmeric for color
A pinch of cloudberry powder for color
Cut the melt and pour soap base into chunks if needed. Melt the soap base, shea butter and beeswax over a water bath. Don't let the mixture boil. Add marigold oil, dried marigold, turmeric and cloudberry carefully to the mixture. Pour the liquid soap into a mold. You can use as a mold for example a paper mug or something similar. Let the soap bar harden over night or for 20 minutes in the freezer.
For one soap bar you'll need:
20g Shea Butter
1tsp Nettle Powder
15 drops of Tea Tree Oil
Cut the melt and pour soap base into chunks if needed. Melt the soap base and shea butter over a water bath. Don't let the mixture boil. Add the nettle powder and tea tree oil carefully to the mixture. Pour the liquid soap into a mold. You can use as a mold for example a paper mug or something similar. Let the soap bar harden over night or for 20 minutes in the freezer.
Photos: Aino Huotari, Anna Nyman