Is body wash biodegradable?  

This article will talk about the biodegradability of body wash. Other aspects covered would include: 

  • What is an eco-friendly body wash?
  • Which is better: body wash or bar soap?
  • What to do with empty body wash bottles?
  • What are examples of biodegradable body wash?
  • What precautions do you need to follow while buying body wash?

Is body wash biodegradable?

A body wash is called biodegradable if it is made from natural materials such as plant-based products that are naturally driven and sustainably sourced. On the other hand, non-biodegradable body wash is made from synthetic chemicals such as triclosan, parabens, phthalates et cetera. 

In the case of the latter, not only will these products not break down readily but they will also cause damage to the environmental systems such as groundwater and will give rise to environmental anomalies such as groundwater pollution. 

What is an eco-friendly body wash? (7 properties of biodegradable body wash) 

The answer to the question varies on the producers of body wash. Based on our interests, the body wash can be categorised into two main categories. These include: 

  • Eco-friendly body wash 
  • Non-eco-friendly body wash

The eco-friendly body wash is made from natural ingredients and avoids the use of harmful chemicals and materials such as parabens, triclosan et cetera. 

The non-eco-friendly body wash is made from synthetic and harmful chemicals that may be of good utility but proves to be hazardous to the environment. 

As a general rule of thumb, eco-friendly body wash is usually also biodegradable. This means that such products will break down into simpler materials in a matter of time (180 days) by the action of microbes such as bacteria, fungi et cetera. 

This is because biodegradable body wash will contain natural materials such as glycerin, mineral oil, essential oils, lemon extracts, honey extract et cetera. Some of the key properties that should be present in biodegradable body wash include: 

  • Naturally derived 
  • Sustainably sources 
  • Plant-based 
  • Zero waste
  • Carbon neutral 
  • Plant-based
  • Ethical & vegan 

Which is better: Body wash vs Bar Soap?

It is commonly asked which body wash and soap is better. As per research, soaps are much better (mostly in terms of the environment) as compared to body wash. This is because of the following reasons: 

  • There can be no waste generation with soaps’ usage 
  • The packaging of soap is more eco-friendly 
  • The use of soap is more sustainable 
  • Bar soaps could be a better option for hyper-allergic people 
  • Bar soaps are light-weight and easier to transport 

Eco-friendly packaging 

It is clear that body wash comes in plastic bottles (most of the time) and plastic, as we know, is a non-biodegradable product that may remain in the environment for up to a thousand years. However, most soaps come in biodegradable or at least recyclable packaging which means less impact on the environment. 

Greener use 

Also, the use of soap can be better optimised to make it more long-lasting and hence, eco-friendly. However, this is not a liberty to be enjoyed in the case of many body wash as you would need to get a substantial amount to produce a good amount of lather. 

Less waste generation 

Also, with soaps, there can be less waste generation as you do not need to deal with any plastic bottles. In many cases (which you can also opt for) you can simply go for biodegradable soaps that will cause much more strain on the environment. 

A final word

As a final word, it is important to know that the function of both bar soaps and body wash is very similar; to remove dirt from your skin and make it feel better and cleaner. The right choice depends on how green the product is and whether you have any special condition upon which the use of either becomes imperative or not. 

When to prefer body wash?

Although we have stanced that soaps are more eco-friendly, it does not necessarily mean that you have to prefer bar soaps every time. There are certain exceptions that you need to be mindful of. 

One of the exceptions is when you have special skin conditions. In that case, the use of body wash may be recommended because certain body wash is made in such a way to deal with special skin conditions such as: 

  • Acne 
  • Dryness 
  • Redness
  • Psoriasis
  • Rosacea

What to do with the empty body wash bottle?

As discussed, body wash bottles are mostly made from plastics. Plastic is a synthetic polymer which is notorious for being non-biodegradable and also hazardous to the environment.

Therefore, it is an important question to discuss what can be done to deal with the empty body wash bottle as disposing of it in a waste dump will not be eco-friendly. 

As per studies, there are several options that can be considered. But two of them seem to be the most important:

  • Reusing body wash bottles
  • Recycling body wash bottles 

Reusing body wash bottles

Reusing body wash bottles is an effective way to make sure that you are not taking part in plastic pollution and plastic contamination. There are two approaches to reusing body wash bottles: 

  • Refilling body wash bottle 
  • Reusing body wash bottles creatively 

Many eco-friendly and contemporary brands now offer refilling facilities where you can get your empty body wash bottles refilled. This is an efficient way to make sure that the resources are managed not only smartly but also sustainably. 

Therefore, the next time you buy your body wash, make sure to ensure that the brand offers a refilling facility. If not, then it may be right to opt for a greener alternative. 

However, if for some reason, you can not get your empty body wash refilled, there are creative ways through which you can reuse empty body wash bottles. These include: 

  • Use as planters
  • Use old bottles to fill other brands’ lotion or body wash 
  • DIY storage projects 
  • Arts and crafts 
  • Toys 
  • Multi-purpose holders 
  • Wall-organiser 
  • Desk-organiser 

Recycling body wash bottles

The other option that can be regarded as green when it comes to body wash disposal is the recycling of body wash bottles. This, however, will not be that green as compared to the first because it will be done at the expense of energy and resources. 

Most body wash bottles are made from plastics and the good news is that most plastics can be recycled. There is not much that you can do but the following are some of the points that you need to do to recycle body wash bottles: 

  • You may dump the empty bottles in recycling bins. These are green-coloured bins dedicated to recyclable material 
  • Be sure to properly clean and empty the body wash bottles. There should be no contamination of any degree. 
  • You may also transport the empty body wash bottles to the nearest recycling centre 
  • You may also schedule a pick-up appointment to have your body wash bottles collected from your home 

What are some examples of biodegradable body wash?

Let us now explore some examples of biodegradable body wash brands that you may want to consider the next time you choose to buy body wash, preferring it over bar soaps of course. 

The brands are: 

  • Plaine products 
  • Everist
  • Bathing culture 
  • Alpine provisions 
  • Soap distillery body wash 
  • The seaweed bath co. body wash 

Plaine products 

Plaine products are regarded as one of the most eco-friendly (and biodegradable of course) body wash. The biggest advantage is that the brand offers refillable bottles. This means that you can have the bottles refilled and contribute to the zero-waste paradigm. Some of the key features of this body wash include: 

  • Sulphate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Made with plant-based materials 
  • Made with natural scents 
  • Offer refillable bottles 

Everist 

Everist is yet another eco-friendly body wash. One of the main characteristics of this brand is that it comes with a special key to ensure that the entire contents of the bottle are used to make sure that there is no waste. Other key properties include: 

  • Chemical-free
  • Biodegradable 
  • Travel-friendly 
  • Concentrated formula 

Bathing culture 

Bathing culture also offers refillable packaging. It is made purely from natural and organic materials and therefore, it is bound to degrade readily. Another advantage offered by the company is that you need a small amount of this body washes to make a good, substantial amount of lather. 

The key properties in this case are: 

  • Organic
  • Readily biodegradable 
  • Refillable 
  • Sustainable use 

Alpine provision 

This is yet another green, eco-friendly brand of body wash which is dedicated to the zero-waste paradigm. It is concentrated which means you need a small amount of it to use. Some of the key features of it include: 

  • Concentrated
  • Organic 
  • Waste-free
  • Sustainably-sourced 

What are some precautions you need to follow while buying body wash?

As we have discussed the key points connecting to the biodegradability of body wash, let us conclude some key points that consumers need to be mindful of in buying sustainable body wash. These include: 

  • Read the ingredients. Prefer those products made from natural and organic materials 
  • Prefer refillable body wash 
  • Prefer body wash that is concentrated. That way you can use it longer 
  • Buy body wash made from natural scents 
  • Buy body wash that is made from sustainably sourced ingredients 
  • Buy body wash with green packaging and a zero-waste approach 

Conclusion 

It is concluded that body wash is called biodegradable if it is made from natural materials such as plant-based products that are naturally driven and sustainably sourced. On the other hand, non-biodegradable body wash is made from synthetic chemicals such as triclosan, parabens, phthalates et cetera. 

In the case of the latter, not only will these products not break down readily but they will also cause damage to the environmental systems such as groundwater and will give rise to environmental anomalies such as groundwater pollution. 

A comparison was drawn between body wash and bar soaps and it was said that bar soaps are greener if you do not have any medical condition. Also, ways to deal with empty body wash bottles were discussed that included reusing and recycling. 

Lastly, a number of green brands of body wash were given as examples and their key points were deliberated. 

References

(June 08, 2022). 8 Eco-friendly Body Wash Brands Using Organic & Natural Ingredients. Retrieved from: https://www.thehonestconsumer.com/blog/eco-friendly-body-wash

Sustainability. Biodegradable Shower gel. Retrieved from: https://www.palmolive.co.uk/news-and-articles/sustainability/biodegradable-shower-gel

Healthline. Is Body Wash Better than Bar Soap? Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/bar-soap-vs-body-wash

Grinberg, Julia. (December 10, 2021). 10 Eco-Friendly Body Wash Brands For A Zero Waste Shower Retrieved from: https://www.sustainably-chic.com/blog/eco-friendly-body-wash-zero-waste-soap

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