Friday, April 27, 2012

Eco Soap Carrier

EcoYogini finally figures out how to travel sans body wash...

Unfortunately (for my carbon footprint) I need to travel a lot for my job. Thankfully I have an extremely fuel efficient car and no children (yet!). 
(the view from the last hotel I stayed at in Clare- you can see the low tide. At high tide the water completely covers the shore)

Although staying in hotels can be fun, I've realized over the past two years that being a Greenie means my eco-stuff can get bulky. Klean Kanteen coffee mug, loose tea and travel tea mug, all my glass containers for my honey face wash, lavender oatmeal face scrub and cocoa butter lotion. For a while I was even bringing my shampoo in small glass "cheese" jars... until one broke :S

One travel necessity that I hadn't worked out until this most recent trip: my soap bar. A few years ago my husband and I made the switch to only using bar soap, which resulted in kicking my body wash addiction.  We found a fabulous solution to make our soap bars last an extremely long time in the shower (mason jars and rocks!) but I still hadn't figured out a good way to transport my soap when I travel. I don't want to buy a plastic carrier (ugh more plastic, and buying something just for travelling seems wasteful).

Hotels create a truly phenomenal amount of waste. Just those bars of soap you open up to wash your hands have to be thrown out between guests (according to Grist more than 2.5 million bars of soap a day get thrown out in the USA- although that post is also cool as Hilton is recycling their soap!). 

If I decide not to use their body wash packaged in plastic, it will reduce the amount that needs to be thrown out. (Honestly, who uses hotel stuff anymore? They should keep it at the front desk so if people need it they can ask...).

For my soap I've tried the following ridiculous travel measures:
  • A weird candy tin that my friend had gifted me. It was the perfect soap size, except washing out that cheap metal tin afterwards was awkward (and it has never recovered). 
  • An old Lush soap bag. Although it worked very well for about one night, the paper started to shred before I even got it home. 
  • Paper Towel (we got from my parents cottage as we don't have any in our house) or toilet paper. This was a sad moment in my soap carrying- why did I even think it could work? The paper stuck to the soap for days.

The Solution: A Cloth Bag:
This week I tried a cloth bag. I had to stay at two different hotels this week (and my parents house) so it was really put to the test. I was gifted some soap nuts (that I've never used) and they came in this pretty cloth bag that is the perfect size. Surprisingly, although the cloth gets a little damp, it dries out wonderfully in my suitcase and the soap easily comes out for the next use! It isn't bulky, doesn't weigh a lot and will be extremely easy to wash. 

One less excuse to use body wash wrapped in plastic :)


Dea-chan said...

One thing that you might also like to think about. My fiance and I have (combined) had 5 bouts of strep in a row. We'll see if we STILL have it after this batch of antibiotics. But his mother (a nurse practitioner) said that a place where germs hide and you don't look for them is on your bar of soap.

We, sadly, have a pump of liquid soap in our bathroom at the moment in an attempt to cut out strep.

(Also LUSH bags are biodegradeable -- and are designed to disintegrate upon contact with water. This is coming from a former employee.)

Eco Yogini said...

@Dea-chan: on no! Strep throat is not fun :(
Weirdly though, I'm not quite sure I understand how bacteria could survive on a bar of soap... since soap kills bacteria? It's a very good point- and one that I'll look into more.
Thanks very much! :)

Betsy (Eco-Novice) said...

According to this article, it's unlikely you'll acquire harmful bacteria from even a contaminated bar of soap:

Dea-chan said...

@Betsy We're willing to try almost anything to get rid of it. We've been checked to see if it's mono hiding under the strep or something, but nope -- it's just a persistent strain of strep.

And it's probably more likely that it hides on the soap tray where it's nice and damp. But that's just my own speculation.

Sorry that I rerouted your comments page! :-P In light of the ACTUAL content, I've always used a soap tin that I got at LUSH. And to wash it out, I just take the whole thing into the shower with me, use the soap (put it back on the tray), and wash out the tin under the shower spray. I'm not picky about how immaculate my soap tins remain.

Eco Yogini said...

@Betsy: yeah... i figured as much

@Dea-chan: oh i don't blame you- persistent strain of strep is not fun at all. I don't feel that i could 'get' strep from my bar soap- i'm fairly realistic about where I get my colds or infections (all from my preschool client caseload most likely). Since with pump soap you have to push down on the dispenser, turn the faucet, flush the toilet and open and close the door with your hands, unless you have a 100% hands free bathroom there are plenty of places for bacteria to hide.

I feel you though and I hope you both feel better soon!!

Christine Newhook said...

This is an awesome idea! I used to use Lush's soap tin containers and always had problem with soap build up/gunk in the tin. I'll have to see if I can find some kind of cloth bag that will do the trick. :)

Cindy @OnePartSunshine said...

Love the cloth bag idea. I always just wrap my bar soap in a baby washcloth and then toss it in the wash when I get back from the trip. I imagine it works pretty much the same way as the cloth bag but might be a nice money-saver if you don't have a bag handy.


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