How Soap Can Change The World


When it comes to helping our Planet, everyone talks about the usual things— planting trees, turning off the tap, saving electricity, reusing, reducing, and recycling, etc. As important as these are, have you ever stopped to consider how the soap we choose to use can have a lasting effect on the world?

According to the metaphorical doomsday clock, we are roughly 2 minutes to midnight— midnight being a hypothetical global catastrophe caused in part by dangerous climate changes, a lot of which is made worse by our obsession with single use plastics. If you’re still wondering how something as seemingly insignificant as the choice of soap we use can change the planet, you’ve come to the right place for answers.

With ever-growing landfills and higher than ever average global temperatures, you may start to wonder why we aren’t doing more about it. Our collective lack of focus on ecofriendly measures is having a terrible influence on the average American citizen. As recently as 2015, a survey that questioned 1,025 American adults revealed that only 32% of people are concerned about global warming (down from 35% in 1989). And when it came to polluted water, a terrible side effect of microplastics, only 55% of Americans reported caring a great deal. These are scary statistics.

Let’s face it, there are much more immediate things to worry about like food, shelter, and just paying the bills. If you speak to the average person about sustainability, you’ll often hear, “What I do won’t make a difference, I’m just one person.” Our mission at Butter + Lye is to show you how easy it is to incorporate ecofriendly habits into your everyday routine so that together, we can make a difference.


1. Choosing a Soap or Shampoo

As skeptical as you may be about how your choice of soap can really make a difference in the world, I ask you this, “Which is more environmentally friendly, Liquid or Bar Soap?” The answer may surprise you. A study reveals that the soap itself and the numerous compounds it’s made of breaks down long before they can pose an environmental threat. However, so many commercial bar soaps are not soap at all. Soap is made by combining animal or vegetable fat with lye. Many commercial bars are instead made of a variety of cleansers, fragrances, and many other synthetic chemicals that all have the potential to harm animal life before decomposing. Thankfully, choosing a natural soap and shampoo alternative has little to no impact on the environment, especially if it’s packaged with sustainability in mind.


Another study found that with each of your washes, the carbon footprint of using liquid soap is about 25% larger than that of bar soaps. This is in part due to the fact that liquid soap requires five times more energy to make and nearly 20 times more energy to package than bar soap. Interestingly, we use about seven times more liquid soap than bar soap with each wash! The positive environmental effect we would cause by simply switching to natural bar soap and solid shampoo can be huge!


2. Choosing Where to Shop

Each soap and cosmetic company has a unique way of doing things, whether it be using cheap palm oil instead of an alternative that does less environmental damage, or packaging in plastic wrap instead of cardboard.  As insignificant as it seems, these business practices have huge negative impacts on our world, and YOU have the power to change this. One thing not enough people think about is how the consumer is king, and our demands will be met as long as we are adamant. Let’s face it, times change. Right now, changing trends in conscious consumerism are forcing companies to update their business strategies to include more ecofriendly measures. These businesses have a bottom line to maintain and will bend over backward to ensure they are not left behind. If you, your family, and friends start choosing to buy only natural soaps that are free of artificial fragrances, dyes, and synthetic cleansers, eventually the big companies will have to make the switch in order to stay competitive.


3. Little Changes, Big Difference

  • Switch to reusable sandwich bags
  • Shop at your local thrift or vintage store
  • Walk or ride your bike to work
  • Bring reusable shopping bags to the store
  • Use beeswax covers instead of plastic wrap
  • Carry a reusable water bottle
  • Support small and sustainable businesses


Not feeling so insignificant anymore, are you? If you’re looking for more simple ways to help effortlessly save the planet and make a difference, then follow Butter + Lye on instagram @butterandlye for eco-friendly content and great products!

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