I still remember the soaps of my childhood – bars of creamy Imperial Leather, the spicy scent of Pear’s and the nostalgic fragrance of Yardley’s Lavender.
But as I grew up, soaps lost their popularity – being replaced by liquid soaps in plastic bottles and shower gels. And you can see why. Plastic bottles are neat, convenient and hygienic. That was enough to let them win for a while.
I’ve been feeling guilty on a personal level about this plastic consumption for a while – especially all the pieces that go into making a pump bottle of liquid soap. And now it seems to be on the nation’s collective mind too.
We’re all thinking about how to use less plastic. In an ideal world they’d be a weigh and pay shop on every high street – the kind of place you could take your empty bottles to have them refilled. That doesn’t exist yet for most of us.
So this year, take matters into your own hands and make one simple but effective change: start using blocks of soap again.
Not keen? I know, I understand. For every memory of sweetly scented lavender soap, there’s another memory of slimy soap sitting in a soggy soap dish. Or the cracked and grimy little specimen in the pub toilets. And it makes your sink messier, I can’t deny it.
But I can live with that. Because I don’t mind having to wipe the soap scum off the sink a bit more often if it means I’m doing the right thing. Sure, a lot of plastic soap containers can be recycled – but it takes a lot of effort and energy to do this. Wouldn’t it be better if the only waste you produced was the paper wrapper from a bar of soap?
Worried about slippery soap in the shower? Try one of these clever little soap bags which help you create a lather and exfoliate your skin at the same time.
I’ve always loved soap, and it truly deserves to stage a comeback. A bar of soap isn’t go to save the world, but it’s a start.