I have always prided myself in not being one of "those" tree-huggers. Ya know- the preachy kind. Oh I can pontificate all I want on my blog, but IRL I believe that my friends (and family) are intelligent people that will make decisions that work best for them.
Except. The other day a tree-thumping info-bite escaped my mouth before I could stop it. It went something like this:
EcoY & C. stepping into a Lawton's one Saturday afternoon.C- "I need more handsoap refills- come help me choose something yummy smelling!"
Moments of us smelling and rating the scents of various pump soap refills, all synthetic and filled with chemicals.EcoY "They smell pretty good considering..."
C- "Ah, considering they aren't very good for the environment?" (concerned face)
EcoY: "Well... it's just there's those little plastic-y bits in the soap. They're called nurdles".
C-"Wtf? Nurdles? But I thought they were just bits of soap... they're plastic?"
EcoY: "Yep, and they go down your drain, don't get disolved by our water systems and flow into the oceans for fish to swallow. The fish swallow the plastic bits. It's really terrible actually."
Claps hand over mouth.C- "But it's on sale...." (because she's an awesome friend, she forgave me- and bought the soap)
Nurdles are tiny bits of plastic that float around in the ocean. Sadly, our ocean is filled with these bits, from plastic that slowly breaks down into smaller parts (but does NOT decompose or disappear) or from things like the little balls present in handsoap or body wash. The "micro exfoliation beads".
These soap and body wash beads are made of plastic. Therefore, they don't dissolve in water. Instead they go down your drain, through your sceptic system (or municipal/city water treatment system) and spew forth into your rivers and ocean. To swim merrily on their plastic way until a fish eats them. According to research cited by Alan Weisman's "The World Without Us", all sea organisms able will swallow plastic nurdles (p.146). If they lodged in the intestines of the organism the result was terminal. Other times they passed through.
The point of concern was that plastic and how it bioaccumulates in living organisms hasn't been studied well enough as plastic hasn't been around long enough. One thing that was clear: soon we'll all be ingesting these plastic nurdles, from zooplankton all the way up to humans.
Surround those nurdles with synthetic chemical ingredients wrapped in more plastic and you've got bodywash and pump soap.
Sadly, I was addicted to both pump soap (because I thought men would NEVER use a bar to wash their hands... my brother and dad were always pump soap guys) and body wash (because it smelled so pretty).
(Peppermint poppyseed soap: week4 of use, poppyseeds= no plastic exfoliants)
(our kitchen soap in a glass dish)
(star anise soap in the jam jar- wide mouth- with pebbles. Easy to clean, keeps the soap from turning to mush! ps- this scent is delicious!)
If you're a pumpsoap/body wash kinda person, just know that making the switch to bar soap is totally doable, relatively inexpensive and can have equally yummy smelling results!