Is Dove soap biodegradable? (21 ingredients of Dove soap) 

This article will discuss the biodegradability and environmental impact of Dove soaps. Other aspects covered would be: 

  • What is Dove soap?
  • What is Dove soap made of?
  • What is the environmental impact of Dove soap?
  • What is biodegradation?
  • Is Dove soap biodegradable?
  • FAQs

Is Dove soap biodegradable?

Dove soaps are indeed biodegradable with no significant harm to the environment. It has been discussed that Dove soap does not have chemicals such as triclosan or phosphates. Further, Dove soap comes in cardboard packaging which is made out of cellulose. 

Soaps should not contain chemicals such as phosphate, parabens, triclosan, or triclocarban. The chemicals are regarded as non-biodegradable because microbes can not break them down into simpler substances. 

When it comes to the biodegradation of soaps, it is argued that soaps mainly require water, oil, and sodium hydroxide. The lesser amounts of chemicals used in soaps, the greater are its chances of biodegradability. 

What is Dove soap?

Dove soap is the product of Unilever. It is the brand that produces many skincare and lifestyle products. Consumer products such as Dove soaps are known to improve the quality of life by facilitating various junctions of one’s day. 

According to manufacturers, Dove is a beauty bar and it’s not soap as some soaps take away the essential oils from the skin while dove soap works as a cleanser and leaves softness, smoothness, and radiant to the skin. It is made with one-fourth of moisturising cream.

However, the idea now is not just the facilitation of one’s living standard. With the burgeoning environmental problems and challenges, it has become imperative that the environmental impact of consumer products must also be assessed. 

One very important parameter that is associated and linked with the assessment of environmental impact is the question of whether a product is biodegradable or not. 

Biodegradability is the breakdown of waste into simpler materials so that it can become a part of nature again. When there is biodegradability, nature is saved from a number of degradative environmental impacts. 

However, in the case of non-biodegradable waste, there will be a number of disadvantages and negative effects on the environment. The article will explain those shortly. 

Coming back to our main topic, the main target of the article is to assess the environmental impact of dove soaps. Important questions such as is dove soap is biodegradable will also be shed light upon. 

It is claimed by the manufacturers that dove soaps come without any great environmental impact as dove soap may have biodegradative properties. In this article, we will get to the ground reality of this claim. 

What is dove soap made of? (21 ingredients) 

Raw materials that are used for dove soap manufacturing are lauric acid, palmitic acid lye, tallow, water, coconut oil, stearic acid, sodium hydroxide, palm kernel oil, sodium chloride, maltol, and fossil fuels. For transportation, PET plastic, and cardboard are used. Also, emissions from manufacturing are powered by using fossil fuels as electricity sources. 

  • Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate: It’s a mild surfactant that cleanses skin effectively.
  • Stearic Acid: is primarily used for hardening soaps also it gives out a rich lather.
  • Sodium Palmitate: helps to remove oil and dirt from the skin.
  • Lauric Acid: It gives the soap a hard texture and also shows a mild cleansing action.
  • Water/Aqua: primarily used as a solvent.
  • Sodium Isethionate: generates dense lather by making a soap suitable for both hard and soft water.
  • Sodium Stearate:  flavouring agent.
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine: increases foam in soaps.
  • Sodium Palm Kernelate: a blending agent and also a mild cleanser.
  • Glycerin:  moisturising agent.
  • Perfume/Parfum: used to impart fragrance.
  • Sodium Chloride: used to diminish the solubility of soap in water.
  • Zinc Oxide: gives white colour to the soap.
  • Tetrasodium EDTA: used to increase the shelf life of the soap.
  • Tetrasodium Etidronate: used to prevent scum.
  • Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone: used for fragrance.
  • Benzyl Alcohol: mild antibacterial agent.
  • Butylphenyl Methylpropional: used for imparting floral fragrance.
  • Coumarin & Hexyl Cinnamal: helps improve the fragrance.
  • Limonene and Linalool: used to improve the soap fragrance.
  • CI 77891:  gives the soap its white colour.

What is the environmental impact of Dove soap?

This article will explain the environmental impacts that are caused and rendered by the production, use, and disposal of dove soaps. 

As per the production prospects, it has been seen that dove soaps are made at the expense of non-renewable resources. Its production facilities are not eco-friendly because initiatives such as zero carbon footprint or zero waste production are not taken up. 

The use of non-renewable resources, it is meant that the production of dove soaps is done at the expense of the burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are a nonrenewable source of energy. The burning of fossil fuels also leads to the emission of greenhouse gases. 

Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, sulphur dioxide et cetera lead to many degradative environmental phenomena. One such phenomenon is the increasing global temperature. This is termed global warming. 

It is argued that the materials and chemicals that makeup Dove soaps do not cause any significant harm to the environment. It is claimed that the ingredients of Dove soap can easily be tolerated. 

However, one factor that may make anyone fidget is the fact that Dove manufacturers have not clearly disclosed the biodegradability status. 

Regardless, there are certain assurances that can be offered. One chief among those is that Dove soap does not make use of chemicals such as phosphate, parabens, triclosan, or triclocarban. 

The chemicals are regarded as non-biodegradable because microbes can not break them down into simpler substances. 

That is why when Dove soap is used, its foam and lather can be degraded by microbes when it enters the wastewater ways. 

Another advantage that Dove soaps have over other conventional soaps is that dove soap makes use of cardboard packaging material. This material is known to degrade readily without causing any significant harm to the environment. 

Other manufacturers make use of plastic packaging which is regarded as non-biodegradable and may remain for hundreds of years. 

It is claimed that Dove beauty products make use of recycled plastics which is known to curb and mitigate the impacts of non-biodegradable plastics. 

What is biodegradation?

Biodegradability can be defined as a process in which biological agents such as enzymes and microbes break down complex waste into simpler structures. The simpler structures are thus able to get back to the system. 

Every day you come across the process of biodegradation. The rotten vegetables that you dispose of or the spoiled fruits that you think can not be eaten. These are standard, everyday examples of biodegradation. 

It is the very process of biodegradation that is responsible for the spoilage of food. It can be termed the necessary evil because on one side food is spoiled but on the other side, it is ensured that there is no waste accumulation. 

If there is waste accumulation, there will be environmental problems and anomalies because the waste will lead to problems such as pollution and human diseases. 

Other than microbes and enzymes, there are also external factors that play a key role in the process of biodegradation. These include:

  • Sunlight 
  • Temperature
  • Aeration
  • Presence or absence of oxygen 
  • Type of microbes

Based on biodegradability, waste may be divided into two categories. These are 

  • Biodegradable waste
  • Non-biodegradable waste 

It is commonly perceived that biodegradable waste is mostly sourced from natural materials. Common examples of biodegradable waste include: 

  • Plant waste
  • Animal waste
  • Manure
  • Natural fibres
  • Natural fabrics

Non-biodegradable waste, is mostly sourced from synthetic products and chemicals. The biggest factor that drives the inclination towards non-biodegradability is the use of fossil fuel derivatives. 

This renders the microbes and enzymes to not degrade such waste. As a result, non-biodegradable waste may remain in the system or landfills for many years. It can be 20 years to a thousand years. 

Examples of non-biodegradable waste include: 

  • Synthetic polymers
  • Synthetic fibres
  • Hazardous waste
  • Chemical waste 
  • Nuclear waste 
  • Electronic waste 

It is argued that the impacts and implications that stem from non-biodegradable waste are far more concerning compared.

Is Dove soap biodegradable?

It is now possible to develop a lucid stance on the biodegradability status of Dove soap. It has been discussed that biodegradability is the breakdown of waste so that it can become a part of nature again. 

It also has been discussed that products made from natural substances are more likely to be biodegradable as compared to products that are made from synthetic materials. 

When it comes to the biodegradation of soaps, it is argued that soaps mainly require water, oil, and sodium hydroxide. The lesser amounts of chemicals used in soaps, the greater are its chances of biodegradability. 

Soaps should not contain chemicals such as phosphate, parabens, triclosan, or triclocarban. The chemicals are regarded as non-biodegradable because microbes can not break them down into simpler substances. 

It has been discussed that Dove soap does not have chemicals such as triclosan or phosphates. Further, Dove soap comes in cardboard packaging which is made out of cellulose. 

Therefore, it can be said and concluded that Dove soaps are indeed biodegradable with no significant harm to the environment. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Is Dove soap biodegradable?

What makes soap non-biodegradable?

Chemicals such as phosphate, parabens, triclosan, and triclocarban make soap non-biodegradable.

What are other examples of biodegradable soaps?

Examples may include Campsuds, Sea to Summit Wilderness wash, Dr Bronner’s soap, and Coleman Camp soap. 

References

  • Conserve Energy Future. Are Soaps biodegradable? Retrieved from: https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/are-soaps-biodegradable.php
  • Aziz, S., & Zaman, I. (2012). Research report on Dove soap bar.
  • Levin, J., & Miller, R. (2011). A guide to the ingredients and potential benefits of over-the-counter cleansers and moisturizers for rosacea patients. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 4(8), 31.
  • Aiello, A. E., Larson, E. L., & Levy, S. B. (2007). Consumer antibacterial soaps: effective or just risky? Clinical Infectious Diseases, 45(Supplement_2), S137-S147.
  • Kirsner, R. S., & Froelich, C. W. (1998). Soaps and detergents: understanding their composition and effect. Ostomy/wound management, 44(3A Suppl), 62S-69S.
  • Chirani, M. R., Kowsari, E., Teymourian, T., & Ramakrishna, S. (2021). Environmental impact of increased soap consumption during COVID-19 pandemic: Biodegradable soap production and sustainable packaging. Science of The Total Environment, 796, 149013.

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