Soap bar or liquid? That is the question
From an environmental point of view, the bar of soap is the overall winner. The environmental impact of the liquid soap that we now use in the shower and for hand washing is thought to be higher.
Bars of soap use less plastic packaging, and because they are solid and contain less water, they have a lower carbon footprint in terms of transportation. The soap bar also tends to have a smaller list of ingredients when compared with the liquid soaps.
Many shower gels and body washes are made of petroleum-derived synthetic detergents and need emulsifying agents and stabilisers to maintain their consistency. These are difficult to remove in wastewater treatment and these chemical constituents cost a lot to produce in terms of energy. Therefore the liquids generally have a higher CO2e than bar soap.
What we use on our body ends up in the water system. Many liquid detergents contain harmful substances that can enter the water system through our drains, wastewater treatment plants and back to our rivers.
If we don’t really need to use these products, we shouldn’t. This choice can lead to cleaner water and less greenhouse gas emissions. Imagine the impact we can have on our environment, if we choose to go back to the bar of soap.