Going zero waste is a common trend, but is it possible for dish soap? We use it almost every single day to manually clean our dishes and other cutlery, and we also use them if we have our dishwasher. However, what happens to the empty bottle of dish soap that we leave behind?
Because such dish soap bottles are usually made of plastic material, we have no choice but to deal with them when it comes to landfill problems. Plastic doesn’t melt down easily – unless it is the biodegradable or compostable type. Unfortunately, not many dish soap bottles have this quality.
The result of such actions is a negative impact on our environment. The plastic bottles may end up in the sea and they could be swallowed by whales and other aquatic creatures. Then, this would cause them to get sick and eventually fall to their death.
This is why many environmentalists are knocking on the door of most manufacturers to reduce their waste – specifically non-biodegradable waste such as plastic – so that we can reduce our impact on the environment.
How do you choose a zero waste dish soap?
So, with that out of the way, what exactly makes a dish soap brand zero waste? What should we look for? Here are some factors that you might want to consider:
1. Eco-friendly packaging
A good zero waste dish soap should use eco-friendly packaging, such as renewable resources, biodegradable, and recyclable materials. This will lessen the waste materials that end up in our landfills and drainages, such as plastic.
While most products have to use plastic to keep liquids intact, especially with the case of dish soaps, nowadays, we have newer technology that lets us recycle our materials into new products. For instance, HDPE plastics can be turned back into pellets for use in manufacturing processes so you are essentially recycling them.
2. Organic ingredients
Everything that we use will most likely have an organic counterpart in nature. By going green and choosing organic ingredients for our zero waste dish soap, we could reduce the seepage of toxic and harsh chemicals into the rivers.
This technically means that the dish soap produced zero waste in terms of harsh chemicals and plastic packaging. We wouldn’t want our rivers and our streams to be filled with waste material that will be toxic to our animals and plants, right?
3. Recyclable, reusable, or compostable container or design
Most dish soaps that are meant to be zero waste are not in liquid form – they come in bars, like soaps. This means that you can keep it in your bag using any paper packaging (or its own) and you won’t have to worry about spillage because it is solid.
Aside from that, you’re essentially throwing no non-biodegradable material into the trash bin because most of these dish soap bars use only paper (preferably recycled or sustainable paper) for packaging them nicely.
4. Ethical ingredients
When it comes to consumables, environmentalists have frowned upon the usage of palm oil due to its devastating effects on the rainforests. Although there’s nothing wrong with the ingredient itself, what’s wrong is where it’s been sourced – from areas of the world where orangutans and other forest animals get displaced due to excessive harvesting and farming.
With this unethical way of sourcing ingredients, many people didn’t like supporting the use of palm oil. Instead, they preferred ingredients that have safer and more ethical alternatives.
Aside from that, it helps if your dish soap is also vegan and/or cruelty-free, which means it hasn’t been tested on animals. This is a simple yet powerful factor helping the environment.
What are the best zero waste dish soap brands?
To help you choose good zero waste dish soaps, here are some of our suggestions, as well as some background information from the company. After all, if a company makes eco-friendly dish soaps, they must also make eco-friendly products, perform CSR (corporate social responsibility), and might also probably be B-corp. certified.
No Tox Life Dish Soap Bar
This dish soap comes in a square bar form that’s great for most grease, grime, and other washables. If you are looking for an eco-friendly alternative to your traditional dish soap, this product is for you. Here’s what to expect about this dish soap bar:
No Tox Life makes their soaps without the use of animal testing, which means it appeals to people who want cruelty-free and/or vegan products. By doing this, they are encouraging environment-conscious people and vegans alike.
Aside from that, they also don’t use palm oil so they are essentially saving rainforests from being hoarded by capitalist companies. This also means that orangutans and similar creatures will be safe from harm. Having ethically sourced ingredients makes this dish soap company eco-friendly.
Being friendly to the environment doesn’t stop with ethical ingredients – the soap is completely biodegradable – from the packaging to the soap itself. Since it contains natural ingredients (mentioned below), you won’t risk putting out harsh chemicals and toxins into the rivers and forests.
Only natural ingredients
When it comes to ingredients, the zero-waste soap has Aloe Vera so it’s not drying at all. Think of it as a semi-gel lotion and a semi-dishwashing bar that hits two birds with one stone.
Aloe Vera is not only natural and sustainable but it is also skin-friendly – especially if you tend to have sensitive skin against most harsh chemicals. People with usually rough hands would have a better time washing the dishes thanks to this Aloe Vera ingredient.
Likewise, the zero waste dish soap bar doesn’t use any parabens, fragrances, phosphates, or sulfates so it’s only made with natural ingredients and love. Keep in mind that this is still a dish soap bar so it will still have working ingredients that will naturally get rid of grime and grease from your kitchenware.
A little goes a long way
The dish soap comes at a common size of 7.5 ounces, which looks small but when you test it out for yourself, a little goes a long way. Of course, you can also use the bigger dish soap for heavy-duty needs and larger families, businesses, and the like – at 22.5 ounces.
Unlike dishwashing liquids, dish soap bars are generally longer-lasting and you don’t have to buy them often. Think of it as comparing liquid hand soap with soap bars, which makes the latter more popular in developing countries and poor communities, such as in Asia. That’s because liquid tends to get wasted easily when compared to bar forms.
If you want to save money, trips to the grocery, car/motorcycle fuel, lessen carbon footprint, and also help the environment by using a zero-waste product, this is a great dish soap to start with. You won’t have to constantly replace it with another dish soap refill.
Will clean more than just the dishes
What we like about this zero waste dish soap is that it cleans more than just the dishes – you can also use it for laundry stains, countertops, handwashing, and carpet cleaning. This means that you get an all-in-one product!
Their byproducts are of great use
When the dish soap bars get produced, their byproduct comes in the form of powder flakes, which are also sold by the company. With a ratio of 1:8, you can mix the flakes with water to create your eco-friendly dishwashing liquid.
About the Company
Founded by Sandee Ferman and Callie, her daughter, No Tox Life centers on personal care, kitchen, and home products that are eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and vegan. They have a wide selection of products, most of which are made of essential oils, earth clays, and plant butter.
Since the company’s business model involves handmade products, they appeal to people who prefer a touch of home, personalization, and a family business. The founder, being a female, also speaks for woman empowerment, aside from eco-friendliness.
Etee Dish Soap Pods and Bars
Yet another company offering eco-friendly and zero waste dish soaps are Etee. They have a dish soap pod, which is a concentrate that can be poured over your dishes. This is a good environment-friendly alternative to dish soaps if you prefer the liquid form. They also have a dish soap bar that’s vegan and palm-oil-free. Here’s what you need to know about them:
Eco-friendly dish soap concentrates
Made with plant-based ingredients, this zero waste dish soap pod is made without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, artificial preservatives, dyes, artificial fragrances, and forming agents. This means that you’re getting an all-natural product that will clean your dishes nicely – and guilt-free.
As for the pod, it is made with fully compostable material, such as soy-based ink, tree resin, unprocessed wax, and compostable oils. The only small hiccup is that it contains beeswax so it’s not fully vegan (although it is USDA-certified).
Aside from that, it still has small amounts of palm oil while Etee is still researching for a workable alternative ingredient.
However, if you simply want compostable packaging and a concentrate free of harsh chemicals to wash your dishes, this is already a good choice for you.
Vegan dish soap bar
Plant-based ingredients are used in making the dish soap bars, which are also vegan and cruelty-free. Among the natural ingredients that are found in the dish soap include:
- cane sugar
- coconut butter
- coconut oil
- castor oil
- lemon essential oil
Moreover, these dish soap bars do not contain palm oil so they are an ethically sourced product for cleaning your dishes.
About the Company
Etee is a company that focuses on ensuring a personal touch with every product that they launch. They also always check the eco-friendliness of their products – from the packaging to the product themselves. The dish soaps took a bar form and they also made an alternative for the concentrate to avoid plastic waste.
Although most of their products are handmade, the mask filters are a different story – but that’s okay since we have to stick to regulations if we want to beat the pandemic.
When it comes to CSR, Etee doesn’t fall behind – they also aim to donate to marginalized communities through a future program that they’re working on.
Their love and care for the environment don’t just stop at sustainable packaging and ethical resources – they also use renewable energy to power up their factories. By setting an example to other companies and manufacturers in going green, they are staying true to their mission of helping the environment.
Bestowed Essentials Dish Soap Bar
Another manufacturer that has an eye for eco-friendliness is Bestowed Essentials. They focus on cruelty-free products while also helping you eliminate grease from your dishes. Here’s what you need to know about their dishwashing soap:
Their dish soap is made with the following ingredients:
- Pacific sea salt
- French green clay
- coconut oil
- olive oil
- sodium hydroxide (doesn’t remain in the final output but is important in most soap making processes)
What’s unique about this dish soap is the use of mineral particles as a substitute for toxic chemicals that are found in commonly-bought dish soaps in the grocery store. Aside from that, this dish soap is also free from preservatives, palm oil, parabens, sulfates, and artificial fragrances, so you will feel less guilty with it.
Their 12-ounce bar will go a long way due to the concentrated formula. This means that you will save money in the long run while also helping the environment.
However, be wary that you do have to watch for mildew because it doesn’t contain preservatives. Therefore, their Soap Saver Bag is a great addition to your purchase.
About the Company
Bestowed Essentials comes from Rapid City in South Dakota and started in Callee’s camper van (she’s the founder). Her handmade products were produced using solar energy – now that’s a way to show love to the environment!
As a female-run company, they make products with all-natural ingredients and maintain sustainability without being too costly for the consumers. They also focused on going zero waste for products in which everything they ship to your doorstep is plastic-free.
Name: Rebecca Tarvin
Discipline: Integrative biology
Degrees: B.A., Biology, Boston University, 2010; Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin,2017
Rebecca Tarvin is broadly interested in integrating studies of natural history with molecular genomics and phylogenetics. Specifically, she aims to elucidate causal genetic mechanisms underlying novel traits, characterize phenotypic diversification at macro and micro-evolutionary scales, and identify factors that promote and constrain biodiversity.
She also likes to write about eco-friendly lifestyle and other material alternatives that are eco-friendly, aside from other ways to save Mother Earth