This past week has been an adventure. Replacing all the soaps with plastic-free containers seemed like an easy change, but apparently I missed some fine print.
I wasn't kidding when I said plastic is in EVERYTHING. As I walked down the aisles of my local shops, I could not find any plastic alternatives. Despite finding several reusable glass soap dispensers, every single jug of "refill" detergent and soap was made of plastic, which to me seemed to defeat the entire purpose of stocking reusable containers. Even the soap bars were packaged in plastic wrap, when they could just as easily be sold in paper.
But this presents an obstacle I hadn't foreseen. In my area, it seems, there aren't many resources that allow consumers to make more eco-friendly choices. I did manage to find a bulk store for dry foods in a nearby city, however, the gas emissions for a 40-mile roundtrip drive seemed like a hefty carbon footprint to pay, especially considering they don't sell any produce (or soap for that matter).
So how does one address this problem? Obviously there are other factors at play here: big businesses who don't want to be bothered with making eco-conscious changes, an overall lack of resources in urban areas (read up on food deserts when you get a chance!), and the larger issue of "consumer culture" where quantity outweighs quality.
In order to transition my household cleaners away from plastic, I've had to order from an online company, who ships their products in biodegradable material (luckily this company plants trees to offset their carbon footprint caused by shipping).
Another option was to make everything myself, but between my work, my kids, and my billion other responsibilities, I don't have time to make soap... and I really don't want to. For instance, I know that baking soda can clean almost anything, but it's not an ideal choice for someone with sensitive skin (seriously, it's really coarse).
Maybe I'm lazy, or maybe I'm like most people: too busy to add "soapmaking" to my endless list of to-dos.
For now, I may have to make compromises (such as ordering some things online instead of shopping locally), even if it means choosing a smaller carbon footprint as opposed to zero footprint. I am still calling this progress because it is better than nothing. Better changes that are less than perfect are still a step in the right direction. So, I declare this week a victory!
Another update coming soon as the purge continues...