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How to Make Your Own Zero-Waste, Non-Toxic Bar Soap

By Stephanie Osmanski

Soap is kind of scary. At least, traditional soap. First of all, soap that comes in a plastic container (with a plastic pump) is not sustainable. Often, that plastic ends up in landfills; if it is recycled, plastic can only be recycled a finite amount of times whereas more sustainable materials (like glass for instance) can be infinitely recycled.

But a lack of compostability and biodegradability aren’t the only components of soap that have many zero wasters avoiding them in grocery stores. Many hand soaps — even if they’re marketed as “organic” or “safe” or “allergen-free” — contain some nasty stuff. Things like additives, parabens, and synthetic fragrances, colors, and more. You might be wondering: And, that’s a bad thing, why? Well, all that synthetic stuff is linked to some dangerous health concerns.

Why Traditional Soap Is “Toxic”

Take parabens for example. They’re one of the most common toxic beauty ingredients because they prevent the growth of mold, yeast, and bacteria in products. Great, right? But parabens also have properties that mimic estrogen and therefore have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer.