One super simple way to reduce your usage of disposable plastics in your bathroom is to switch to zero waste body soap.
If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a list of zero-waste natural body soaps — curated by our contributor Madeleine of The Wise Consumer — that will help you eliminate plastic waste from your bathroom and keep you clean and smelling fresh.
Why Switch to Zero Waste Body Soap?
I made the switch to zero-waste body soap after I realized how much plastic pollution my body wash and shampoo bottles were contributing to our beautiful planet.
I was shocked when I learned that in 2018, in the U.S. alone, according to Euromonitor International, almost 7.9 billion units of rigid plastic were created just for beauty and personal care products. In fact, worldwide, the beauty industry creates 120 billion units of packaging every year!
If these numbers aren’t quite sinking it, let me break it down for you.
According to Reduce Plastic Waste, in 2017 more than 2.38 million people were using disposable body wash bottles.
Considering that the average person in the U.S. uses about 6 bottles of body wash per year, not including shampoo and/or conditioner bottles, that means that about 1.4 billion bottles of disposable body wash bottles are used every year.
And, unfortunately, most of these bottles aren’t recycled and often end up in our oceans, landfills, and waterways.
Switching to zero-waste body soap won’t solve the global problem of plastic pollution, but every little swap, change, and action we make to reduce our usage of single-use plastics makes a difference.
Just imagine if 2.38 million people replaced disposable body wash bottles with zero-waste soap alternatives!
Ready to make the switch? Here are a few brands to get you started…
Zero Waste Body Soap Brands
Founded in Brooklyn by Tara Pelletier (she/they) and Jeff Kurosaki (they/them), Meow Meow Tweet, is a handmade, vegan, and low-waste skincare company that uses certified organic ingredients. They provide a variety of different soaps ranging in scents from Grapefruit Mint to Lavender Lemon and their soaps are also on Package Free Shop. Soap bars are packaged in paper boxes and you also have the option of purchasing refillable body wash packaged in a glass bottle with a post-consumer recycled plastic pump that you can mail back to Meow Meow Tweet to be recycled.
Conscious Qualities: Low-Waste, Refillable Option, Organic & Fair Trade Ingredients
Price: Soap Bar: $12 | Refillable Body Wash Bottle: $20
Unearth Malee, founded by Thai-American Marie Pechkam, is an organic, vegan, palm-free, woman-owned skincare company based out of Los Angeles, California. Soaps are handmade in small batches using certified organic vegetable oils, organic herbs, and pure essential oils, hand cut, and wrapped in plantable flower seeded paper. For each product sold a portion of proceeds is donated to the Orangutan Foundation International. Soaps scents, which are Asian-inspired, include Bali Flowers, Cucumber Mint, and more!
Conscious Qualities: Palm-Free, Organic & Natural ingredients, WOC-Owned
Created out of the desire to bring the regenerative properties of seaweed to a healthy line of nourishing skincare, Samudra’s Skin & Sea products are created using hand-harvested wild seaweed from the Mendocino coast in California. Their Sea Soap, which can double both as body and shampoo bar, is made from soothing ingredients such as seaweed, olive oil, and avocado butter. Samudra Skin & Sea not only creates plastic-free and natural products but collaborates with ocean conservation programs to help in the fight against plastic pollution.
Conscious Qualities: Sources Wild Seaweed, All Natural Soaps, Women-Owned
Although best known for their zero-waste laundry detergent and cleaning products, Meliora Cleaning also offers bath and body soaps that are dye-free, plastic-free, palm-oil-free, and free of harmful ingredients. Soap scents include lavender, peppermint, spiced orange, and unscented.
Conscious qualities: Made-Safe Certified, Rated A on EWG, 1% For The Planet Member, Plastic-Free
Price: $17 for 3 (Use code CONSCIOUSLIFE for 10% off @ EarthHero)
5. R&R Luxury
This Black-owned African plant-based skincare line was founded by beauty entrepreneur Valerie Oba. The brand offers a range of luscious beauty formulations made from 100% natural shea butter (sourced directly from the Shea countryside of Ghana) and other natural ingredients. R&R Luxury sources, manufactures, sells, and exports from products Africa. The brand’s low waste soap options include the Black Soap Bar and Shea Soap. (Location Finder is here.)
Conscious Qualities: Natural Ingredients, Ethically Sourced & Made, Traditional African Soap Formulation, Black Woman-Owned
6. No Tox Life
This small family-run mother-daughter business offers a variety of plastic-free products from zero-waste deodorant bars to solid seaweed shampoo. Their vegan, zero waste body soaps are handmade in small batches using high-quality, plant-based, effective ingredients that come in a variety of scents ranging from Turmeric Ginger and Midnight Forest to Moroccan Cowboy. (There is also an unscented option.)
Conscious Qualities: Plastic-Free, Plant-Based Ingredients, Made in Small Batches, Woman-Owned
Price: $11.98 for 3
Chagrin Valley Soaps are handmade in Ohio and crafted in small batches using all-natural and USDA-certified organic ingredients such as herbs and flowers, vegetables and fruits, sustainable oils and butters, and pure essential oils. With more than 36 different soap scents to choose from, including Citrus Wood Green Tea, Winter Survival, and Bamboo Charcoal, you’re sure to find something for the entire family!
Conscious Qualities: Fair Trade Ingredients, Certified Leaping Bunny, 99% Plastic-Free
8. Wild Lather
These uniquely shaped triangle soaps are handmade in California using a blend of five fair-trade organic plant oils, naturally occurring clays, and solar-infused botanicals. They’re also cold-processed and free of palm oil and synthetic substances. Soaps are packaged in paper boxes and come in a variety of scents including Milky Oats + Calendula and Herbaceous Citrus.
Conscious Qualities: Handmade in Small Batches Organic Ingredients, Fair-Trade Oils, Palm-Free
Founded by Brianne West in 2012, this 100% plastic-free, plant-based, certified carbon neutral cosmetics brand offers all types of zero-waste bath and body products — shampoo, body, pet, and laundry bars. Ethique believes in using honest and fair trade ingredients and, whenever possible, direct trade ingredients (you can read more about direct trading here). Plus, for every purchase made one tree or mangrove is planted.
Conscious Qualities: Plastic-Free, Direct & Fair Trade Ingredients, Carbon Neutral, Palm-Free. Transparent Production, Certified by Living Wage Aotearoa.
Price: $6 – $13
10. TERRA TORY
TERRA TORY is 100% natural, handmade, hypoallergenic, palm-free, coconut oil-free, and cruelty-free. Founded by Kimerberly Waldropt in 2017, this small business creates uniquely scented soaps from natural, healing, and wholesome ingredients. Each soap is designed, packaged, and delivered by Kimberly herself! And, according to TERRA TORY’s website, these soaps are great for anyone who may have sensitive skin and prone to eczema. Scents range from Fresh Carrot and Tumeric Cube to Cactus + Charcoal Cube.
Conscious qualities: Natural Ingredients, Handmade, Plastic-Free, Black Woman-Owned, Palm-Free
11. Plaine Products
If you’re not a fan of soap bars, Plaine Products, a refillable and reusable bath and body skincare brand, is a great plastic-free alternative to disposable body wash. Once you’ve finished your product, simply order a refill and a new bottle will be sent your way. All Plaine Products are made using plant-based ingredients, free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicone, and palm oil, and designed to biodegrade. The refillable body wash is available in Citrus Lavender or Rosemary Mint Vanilla. (There is also an unscented option.)
Conscious Qualities: Zero-Waste, Refillable & Reusable, Natural Ingredients, Biodegradable. Palm-Free, Member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
Price: $30.00 (for 16 oz. bottle)
Alaffia’s fair trade soaps are handcrafted using a centuries-old recipe and unrefined shea butter, natural ingredients, and Orangutan-safe West African palm oil. The palm oil, which is native to Western Africa, is grown and harvested by small-scale farmers in the Maritime region of Togo using traditional methods. Soap scents include Authentic African Black Soap Triple milled Charcoal Reishi, Cold Brew, Hemp Olive Leaf, and Unscented.
Conscious Qualities: Fair Trade, Clean Ingredients, For Life Certified by ECOCERT, Good Manufacturing Practices Certified
13. Dr. Bronners
Dr. Bronner’s 100% true pure-castile soaps are ethically manufactured using only the purest organic and certified fair-trade ingredients. Their soap bars are biodegradable and packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled wrapper and free of any synthetic detergents or foaming agents. There are 7 different scents to choose from, plus an unscented option.
Conscious Qualities: Certified Fair-Trade and Organic, Leaping Bunny Certified, Natural & Biodegradable Ingredients.
Everyone deserves the right to shower! Unfortunately, in the U.S. about 550,000 people are experiencing homelessness and have limited or no access to everyday services, including showering. The Right To Shower is on a mission to fix that by building a personal care brand that donates 30% of its profits to mobile shower initiatives, such as Lava Mae, to help people currently experiencing homelessness. The Right To Shower soap bars are made in small batches using natural and organic ingredients, including rainforest certified palm oil.
Conscious Qualities: Donates to Mobile Showers, Vegan, Low Waste, Cruelty-Free, Rainforest Alliance Certified Palm Oil
Price: $7.50 for Soap Bar | $8.99 for Body Wash
Do you have a favorite plastic-free body soap brand we should include to this list?
About the Author:
Madeleine is a Franco-American podcaster and blogger on a mission to inspire and empower women to live healthier, more eco-friendly, and conscious lifestyles. On her blog/podcast, The Wise Consumer, she covers topics ranging from nutrition and recipes to ethical fashion and eco living tips. When not working Madeleine is either spending time with family, developing new recipes, or running trails.
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