A Solid Idea

By Heidi Ananthakrishnan

Some years ago, while traveling for work, I became conscious of the enormous amount of plastic travel sized bath product bottles prevalent in the travel industry. I remember being intrigued upon seeing an online reference to “bar shampoo,” a solid form of shampoo that looks like a bar of soap. Because it offered a solution to the plastic problem, I decided to venture into the world of bar products.

I have tried a few brands—Ethique and J.R. Liggett’s—and could hardly believe I hadn’t done it earlier. They were just as luxurious as liquid shampoos, and the packaging was nothing but a minimal paper wrap. And because they are in a concentrated form, they last longer than liquid products. This makes their use a simple way to reduce environmental impact, considering the emissions of trucks and ships that transport thousands of bottles of products made mostly of water. As a bonus, bar products don’t require the chemical preservatives that some liquid products need to prevent contamination. 
I used to think recycling bath product bottles was the best I could do but making and breaking down plastic expends energy. Completely eliminating the need for plastics is even better. And why stop with shampoo? My foray into bar shampoo has extended to concentrated bar conditioner and cleaning solutions (just add hot water), shaving bars for my husband, melting detergent sheets,
and solid toothpaste bits. And of course, I never stopped using good old bar soap. Who knew that humble bar soap, the original cleaning product, would become the inspiration for so many clever and environmentally friendly bath products?