Intentful Consumers #2 — Hand Soap

Foreword:
As a project this year, I’ve committed to researching the most ethical brands of the products I consume such that I can change my spending habits to support the causes I believe. I’m of the opinion that this is the best way as an individual to make an impact on the world; the way I consume, or lack thereof. However, I realize that there are a lot of logical traps in determining what is ethical, and I’m sure a lot of my other existing behaviors might be counter productive or downright hypocritical, but my intent is to at least start trying. Thus, I’m deeming myself an “intentful” consumer (You’re right, intentful is not a real word).

This time my friends and I researched hand soap alternatives, thanks to COVID-19.

A big debate is if liquid soap is more sanitary than bar soap. From the NPR research that I found, it doesn’t make much of a difference. While bar soap definitely has leftover bacteria on it, when you combine it with water, it’s just as effective as lifting the bacteria off of your hand as it is lifting the bacteria back off of itself again.

Now, doing a comparison between the full life cycle environmental impacts of liquid soap vs bar soap, bar soap wins out. Less plastic, less water weight, easier to efficiently pack, less needed per wash, less chemicals, it all adds up.

Another debate revolves around antibacterial soap. Essentially, the consensus (of the FDA) is that it’s overkill and it’s just making the bacteria more resistant and more difficult to eliminate when it actually matters.

So based on all that, I’ve tried to rank our top soap brands:
1. Dr Bronner’s Bar Soap — $4.50 — $.90/ solid oz (vegan) (plastic free)
2. Blueland Soap Tablets — $16 — $.22/oz (refillable w/ tablets)
3. Plaine Products Liquid Soap — $20 — $1.25/oz (vegan) refillable aluminum
4. Makes 3 Organics Naked Bar Soap — $8 — $2/ solid oz (plastic free)
5. Kiss My Face Bar Soap — $6 — $.50/solid oz (vegan)
6. Public Goods Hand Soap Refill — $11 — $.32/oz (plus shipping and $59/yr membership) (vegan)
7. Puracy Hand Soap Refill w/ glass container — $17.84 — $.28/oz (refillable glass option)
8. Method Hand Soap Refill — $12 — $.35/oz (100% recycled plastic)
9. Honey Sweetie Acres Bar Soap — $20 — $4.44/solid oz

Dr Bronner’s seems like a hands down easy choice, it’s affordable, widely available, and well rated in terms of being an eco-friendly company.

Resources:
Want to do your own research? Here are some links that should help!

https://betterworldshopper.org/
https://www.csrhub.com/
https://www.ecoinvent.org
https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/

Full Disclosure: I use Amazon Associates referral links when available, because, well, I might as well?

software dev researching ethical products at intentfulconsumers.com