Plastic: Our Love-Hate Relationship
Updated: Oct 14, 2022
Admit it...are you one of the people who still wishes people a Happy New Year even though it's already February? I do this, especially now that we aren't seeing people as often. It's always the New Year now. No matter what the calendar says, I hope the new year brings you all things merry and bright and loving - and that you shed whatever it is you want to shed, whether it's pounds or unhealthy habits or that voice that tells you you're secretly not good enough. It's all BS and it's time to, in the immortal words of Elsa, Let It Go.
Easier said than done of course so...instead of sharing one of my largely meaningless NYE resolutions with you, I'm going to talk about plastic. You know, this stuff.
We all know plastic is awful...so why keep using it?
I heard a very funny vegan retort to the argument "We have been eating meat for thousands of years, what's the problem, why stop now?" and the vegan was all like 'Um, we've been also enslaving people for thousands of years, why did we put a stop to it ever?' Yeah, and women in America couldn't vote till the 20's and blacks till the 60's, so when has length of time ever been a good reason to keep doing something?
The other thing is, consumption doesn't necessarily scale well when resources are finite. We're not talking about a cow lasting a family of 8 an entire winter, we're talking about billions of animals killed. When it comes to plastic trillions of empty bottles of water, shampoo, body wash, and just about everything else, winding up in landfill at at the bottom of the ocean. We are supposed to recycle, but alarmingly, Almost NONE of our plastic waste is recycled into anything.
Plastic was invented in 1907 and it pretty much took off just a few short decades later. Let's face it, the stuff is pretty useful and found in just about everything, so there are many good reasons and arguments for it. The problem is, it never goes away. This would be fine if the government would invest trillions into blasting our plastic into space, but they'd probably just start an alien war. Perhaps the plastic could be compacted to build a wall, I don't know. But the problem is, plastic doesn't disappear, even when it breaks down - it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, which are consumed by animals and create poisonous pollution everywhere.
So Why Does SaltZ&Co Use Plastic, Ya Hypocrites?
Okay let me explain. This explanation is not going to satisfy everyone, in fact it doesn't even satisfy me some of the time, but here goes:
-The amount of plastic wrap it takes to wrap a bar of soap is much less waste than that generated by a bottle of liquid soap
-The vast majority of types of affordable cosmetic-grade packaging are plastic, but they are also washable and reusable, which we encourage you to do at home!
-Plastic keeps the soaps separated, the fragrances distinct, and prevents people from coming into contact with allergens
-We often exhibit soaps at outdoor fairs where glycerin-based soaps like ours would become soft and fingerprinted in the heat after being squeezed by so, so, so many hands. Plastic keeps the soap sanitary for the eventual buyer.
Now...as I said, that explanation doesn't always satisfy me. So we did the Naked Cupid soap this holiday season and it sold out before I could even put it on the website. It went straight into gift baskets and directly to the recipients, so it wasn't being handled by tons of different people.
We also have our waste-free shampoo bars which are a big hit and are packaged with recycled brown paper labels.
Now, I am tired of plastic, guys. We do use glass jars on many products and they are great. I also reuse most of the boxes and packaging from our suppliers and even from my own personal deliveries and gifts, which is why your SaltZ&Co order may say Amazon on it and be protected by Styrofoam peanuts, which we would never buy - ours are biodegradable potato starch - but which is better reused than recycled, because we all know recycling is questionable at best.
I used to hate plastic so much I put everything in cloth, and that didn't work out too well because cloth wicks the scent away from salt so quickly, you had about 7 days to use the bath salts OR ELSE. I had to change that, or lose my customers by selling a substandard product.
So, how else can we do our part?
5 Practical Tips For Reducing Plastic Waste
1. Switch to bar soap from liquid soap (body wash or pump soap). It lasts a lot longer and less or no plastic is involved. If you love liquid soap, refill the bottle from a value jug rather than buying individual bottles.
2. Switch to a resuable water bottle and buy a Brita filter instead of water by the case.
3. When plastic comes into your home, find a use for it. Use grocery bags instead of buying bags that fit your garbage can, use a sandwich bag more than once if all it contained was a couple of cookie crumbs.
4. Schools are ALWAYS looking for donations of plastic bottles for crafts for their kindies. Ask your kid's teacher if there is anything plastic you can donate.
5. Use less plastic by wrapping foods in tupperwares instead of just putting plastic wrap over a plate. Use permanent containers for kids' lunches rather than lunch bags.
We are always looking into adding more plastic-free options to our soaps and other natural skin care products. please look out for them in upcoming newsletters - and have a cleaner, greener New Year!