colorful biodegradable soap bar market stall in Parma Italy.
May 26, 2023
 in 
Lifestyle

Biodegradable Soap: Everything You Need To Know

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nvironmental conservation has been the talk of the town lately. But did you know that you can uphold personal hygiene standards and have a positive impact on the environment at the same time? All this is possible with biodegradable soap!
This revolutionary replacement for conventional soap is created from all-natural, plant-based components that break down quickly and produce little waste, minimizing the product's environmental impact. Prepare to give up synthetic chemicals and preservatives permanently.
When you use biodegradable soap, you'll feel better knowing how your activities affect the environment. Join us as we explore the revolutionary world of biodegradable soap today, and discover everything you need to know to make the switch right away.

Table of  Contents

Why do we need biodegradable soap?

We have grown accustomed to utilizing items in today's world that are practical and accessible, frequently at the expense of the environment. An illustration of this would be traditional soaps, which are frequently produced with artificial preservatives and chemicals that might harm the environment when used and discarded. By using natural, plant-based chemicals that decompose quickly in the environment, biodegradable soap provides a solution to this issue.

Think of it like this: traditional soap is like a plastic bag. It takes hundreds of years to decompose, and it pollutes our earth. In contrast, biodegradable soap decomposes spontaneously and returns to the land without harm, much like a falling leaf.

We can lessen our impact on the environment and contribute to protecting the planet for future generations by switching to biodegradable soap. It only takes a little adjustment to have a significant impact.

Biodegradable soap is a greener option that aids in lowering pollution and protecting the environment in the long term. It's a deliberate decision that benefits the earth as well as ourselves.

What makes a soap biodegradable?

example of frothy biodegradable soap bar on deep blue surface

When soap is manufactured from all-natural, plant-based components like coconut oil, olive oil, and essential oils that decompose quickly in the environment, it is said to be biodegradable. These ingredients frequently come from environmentally friendly sources and are free of synthetic chemicals and earth-harming preservatives. The microorganisms present in the soil, water, and air can easily break down these ingredients into simpler compounds and return them to the earth as nutrients without causing any pollution or harm.

Several important aspects affect how biodegradable soap is, including the following:

Ingredients

Natural, plant-based ingredients like oils and organic substances are often used to make biodegradable soaps. Compared to synthetic substances, these compounds can be broken down more quickly by natural processes.

Production process

Sustainable production techniques, such as employing renewable energy sources and reducing waste, are frequently used to create biodegradable soaps.

pH

Biodegradable soaps frequently have a neutral pH, which is more similar to the pH of the skin and less likely to harm the environment.

Lathering agents

Some biodegradable soaps contain natural lathering agents that are biodegradable and safe for the environment, like coconut oil or castor oil.

Packaging

Biodegradable materials, such as paper or plant-based polymers, which can also be broken down by natural processes, are frequently used for packaging biodegradable soaps.

A great example to cement the understanding of biodegradable soap is the practice of gardening. You usually plant a seed, and it grows into a plant and eventually dies, but it's not gone; it's decomposed and returned as nutrients to the soil, ready to be used again. Similarly, biodegradable soaps follow the same cycle; they clean, nourish, and return to the earth as natural compounds, ready to be used again.

By choosing biodegradable soap, you're not only keeping yourself clean but also playing a small but important role in keeping our earth clean. It's a small change that can make a big difference in preserving our planet for future generations.

What positive impact does it have on water pollution?

Biodegradable soaps generate less pollution since they are made from natural materials that decompose quickly in the environment. Traditional soaps can harm wildlife and upset the fragile environment when they are used in lakes, rivers, and oceans. The environmental effect of biodegradable soaps is lower because they contain no hazardous ingredients and may be broken down by natural microbes.

Camping and other outdoor activities are examples of how using biodegradable soaps can reduce water pollution. Traditional soaps might linger in water after people wash their dishes or themselves in a lake or river, contaminating the environment and possibly hurting aquatic life. Instead, campers and hikers can take advantage of the great outdoors without endangering the ecosystem by using biodegradable soaps.

Urban drainage systems are another area where biodegradable soaps have a good effect. The excess water from rainstorms is routed to the same treatment facilities as the sewage in many urban areas since these places have combined sewage and drainage systems. Traditional soaps may add to the backups and spills that result from these systems becoming clogged. However, biodegradable soaps degrade more rapidly and can ease the burden on these systems, reducing pollution.

Biodegradable soaps can significantly reduce the number of toxic chemicals and microplastics entering the water system and decomposing swiftly into the environment, helping to reduce water pollution. This could help save aquatic life and prevent ecosystem degradation.

The 10 Best Biodegradable Soap Brands

We’ve put together a list of some of the best biodegradable soap options for everything from washing your hands, shaving, and cleaning your home and car. Going natural with your soap doesn’t mean you need to compromise on quality or cleanliness:

1. Dr. Bronner's

Vegan, biodegradable and organic liquid soap and soap bars by Dr. Bronner's placed on bathroom counter next to sink

Ingredients: Natural, vegan, organic, and certified fair trade.

Packaging: Post-consumer recycled bottles

There’s no way we could write this list without including the classic that, in many ways, started the trend for organic, natural soaps. The story behind this brand is wilder than we could ever have imagined (spoiler alert: he’s a fake doctor) and with so many newer brands coming out, it’s incredible just how popular Dr. Bronner’s has remained over the years.

Their original Pure Castille soap famously has about 18 uses and claims to be as effective as a body wash as it is as a laundry detergent or car wash. There are multiple scent options, including fragrance-free for anyone with sensitive skin. It’s also great to see such a well-established brand continuing to push themselves on the sustainability front in terms of water use, clean energy, and packaging.

2. Nubian Heritage

Organic and biodegradable soap bar by Nubian Heritage made with Honey & Black Seed.

Ingredients: Natural, ethically sourced, and all palm oil used is certified sustainably sourced.

Packaging: Product-dependent.

This certified B Corp company started in Harlem in 1992, with two friends trying to create wellness products based on traditional African black soap and shea butter. It’s now a global brand with products specifically for the black community and others.

Their bar soaps perhaps get the most attention for their lovely scents and nourishing qualities, but they also offer soaps for facial and hair care. While not all their ingredients are organic or fair trade, they’ve made an effort to show which ones are and are slowly introducing more lines that are entirely vegan.

3. Sea to Summit

A bottle of Sea to Summit's biodegradable multi-purpose Wilderness Wash soap.

Ingredients: Natural and certified “leave no trace” in terms of outdoor use.

Packaging: Plastic, but because the soap is made to be compact, it uses very little packaging overall.

This outdoor and adventure brand doesn’t just make camping accessories, they’re also well-known for producing pocket-sized biodegradable soaps that are better for the environment. The brand has a “trek and travel” mentality and have ensured that all their soaps are in TSA-friendly packaging.

Ever had a suitcase of clothes ruined by a soap explosion? It can’t happen with these products. Sea to Summit soaps come in dry “leaves” or sheets that you just need to add water to for use. They cover everything from shaving to shampoo and laundry and are designed to leave “no trace” in the environment, whether you’re using them in a lake, or a hotel bathroom

4. Puracy

A bundle of Puracy hand and body soaps, dry shampoo, stain remover, dishwasher soap and surface cleaner.

Ingredients: Hypoallergenic, pet, and child safe, and all products are at least 98.5% natural.

Packaging: Recyclable with options to buy refill pouches.

Started by two dads from Austin, Texas, looking to create products that were safe and effective for their kids, Puracy has created a line of award-winning natural soaps that aim to be kinder to the people who use them, and the planet. What’s unique about their approach is how they’ve connected the idea of natural soaps with medical and expert advice.

Rave reviews from their customer base show just how well that’s working, with products that extend from household basics to personal and pet care. Puracy is confident enough in their quality that they even have a money-back guarantee which allows you to try their natural soaps stress-free.

We also love that they have a subscription option so that you get regular refill pouches delivered with a discount and the knowledge that you’re minimizing wasteful packaging.

5. Chagrin Valley

Organic and biodegradable lavender rosemary bar soap by Chagrin Valley

Ingredients: Natural and USDA-certified organic.

Packaging: Minimal, sustainably sourced, and 99% recyclable.

This family-run natural soap business takes its name from Chagrin River Valley, where it was first started. The beauty of that environment has helped shape a brand that not only makes effective, gorgeous-smelling soaps for your skin, but is very open about its sustainability practices. Everything from their approach to packaging design and factory policies is threaded with a commitment to doing better by our planet.

And the soaps have great reviews! As with so many of the biodegradable soaps mentioned on this list, the natural ingredients mean that Chagrin Valley’s products are gentler to our waters and our skin. This option is a great one because you have the option of ordering a sample if you're not sure which one is right for you. The samples are pretty sizable and can last up to a couple weeks!

6. Bestowed Essentials

circular shaped coconut and lavender biodegradable shampoo bar in metal can by Bestowed Essentials

Ingredients: Natural and sustainably sourced.

Packaging: Plastic-free.

We’ve got quite a few big, well-established brands on this list but there are many smaller businesses, like Bestowed Essentials, that are doing incredible things when it comes to biodegradable soaps as well.

All the products at Bestowed Essentials are ethically handmade in the US with unique fragrance options like cucumber and spearmint and are available with carbo-neutral shipping. One of their most unique biodegradable soap options is a stain remover stick with 5-star reviews for removing a range of marks on laundry. They also sell a solid soap for dishwashing and options for skin and hair care.

7. DedCool

Biodegradable hand and body wash pouring out of aluminum reusable bottle by the DedCool company.

Ingredients: 100% biodegradable.

Packaging: Recyclable.

If you’re not into the hippy, casual style packaging of most biodegradable soap companies, might we offer the cool new kid on the block: DedCool. Known first for their fragrances, they’ve since branched out into a highly popular range of biodegradable laundry detergents and hand and body soaps.

Because fragrance is where they started, their soaps are known to smell great, but they’ve also been well-reviewed by customers for their effectiveness. This is one of the most aesthetically pleasing brands on our list with a laundry detergent that comes in aluminum packaging that’s easy to recycle and looks great displayed on a shelf. 

8. The Honest Company

A selection of eco friendly shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath and body lotions in citrus vanilla scent by the Honest Company.

Ingredients: Plant-based, natural, and toxicologist audited.

Packaging: Sustainably packaged.

Founded by actress Jessica Alba when she was looking for natural, baby-safe products for her kids, The Honest Company spans everything from makeup to skincare, home products, and pet care. When it comes to the soaps, their dish soap and personal care options are some of our favorites.

As the brand has expanded, they’ve also continued to improve the sustainability aspects of their products with carbon-neutral shipping and packaging that isn’t just recyclable, but compostable.

9. Ursa Major

Linked to Ursa Major Trailside bar soap

Ingredients: Gluten-free, natural, with RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil.

Packaging: Minimal and recyclable. 

Ursa Major has had some serious hype around it thanks to their clean and refreshing soaps. Not only is the texture of their body soaps lightweight, but the fragrances are known to be natural and invigorating.

They’re a Vermont-based business that were inspired by an outdoor lifestyle to create products that not only reflected their environment, but treated it well too. One of the great features we noticed on their website is how they break down the natural ingredients in their soaps so you can understand how each aspect is helping to nourish and care for your skin.

One of the joys of sticking to more natural, biodegradable soaps is that you can connect better with the ingredients that are going on your body. These aren’t artificial ingredients with long, strange names, but things like shea butter and peppermint oil that are drawn from nature and will be far kinder to it when they end up in our water systems.

10. Method

Various scents of Method eco friendly foaming hand wash in sustainable and reusable bottles

Ingredients: Naturally derived.

Packaging: Minimal and recyclable. 

We started this list with a classic, so it seemed appropriate to end with one too. Method has been a household favorite for years, but we’re most excited about their newest launch: Method Concentrates. As part of this range, they’re now selling kits for their hand wash and all-purpose cleaner with a reusable and recyclable aluminum bottle to use every day and a smaller bottle with refill concentrates (also recyclable!).

It’s great to see a well-established biodegradable soap brand continue to push the envelope on what sustainable packaging can look like. After all, buying natural soap is all about being better to the planet and the packaging needs to match that

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, biodegradable soap is a viable alternative to traditional soap products that can greatly reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment.

By understanding the benefits and limitations of biodegradable soap, consumers can make informed decisions about the products they use and contribute to the effort to protect our planet. Using biodegradable soap is a small but meaningful step we can all take to reduce our ecological footprint and promote a more sustainable future.