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Action alert

Eco-Challenge: Ban plastic bottles from your bathroom

 Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

Brown, green and tan bars of soap sit on top of a soap saver bag of unbleached cotton mesh.

As part of our commitment to Earth via our Laudato Si’ Action Plan, we are inviting everyone who shares in our charism to take a monthly Eco-Challenge with us.

Avoid liquid soaps, shampoos and conditioners that come in single-use plastics

Imagine a plastic-free future

The following narrative has been adapted, with permission, from Coming Back To Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World, by Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown

Imagine you are relaxing in your elder years, appreciating the clean, healthy natural environment surrounding you. A sustainable society has been achieved, and you reflect on your part in that transition. You see an approaching child around the age of nine or ten. The child has heard, in stories and songs, about what was done to save the world from environmental disaster and is eager to ask you questions about the crises averted.

A close up of a child's hand being held in an adult's in front of a meadow. The sun shines brightly in the background.

“Is it true,” the child inquires, “what they say about life back then? Were there really trillions of tons of plastics in every part of the world…and even invading our bodies?”

You answer thoughtfully. “Yes, almost every product came in single-use plastic containers. They littered the streets and got dumped into the oceans and landfills. As the containers broke down into smaller and smaller pieces, microplastics were detected in human bodies. Millions and millions of people got sick.”

The child asks, “What was it like for you to live in a world like that? Weren’t you scared?”

“I was concerned,” you reply. “I started by making changes in my own consumption behaviors. One thing I did was refuse liquid products that came in single-use plastic containers. I tried using bar soap, bar shampoo and bar conditioner to avoid plastic waste. When I did find myself with a plastic container, I made sure it was responsibly recycled. Eventually, as more and more people made switches like this, single-use plastics were no longer produced, and the environment recovered.”

The child is curious. “Where did you and your friends find the strength to do what you did? How did you keep going?”

With a smile you remember, “Many of us discovered solidarity in actively embracing the monthly Eco-Challenges presented by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The sisters even created a Recommended Sustainable Products webpage as part of their commitment to Earth. Laudato Si’, a document written by Pope Francis, tells us, ‘Once we start to think about the kind of world we are leaving to future generations, we look at things differently; we realize that the world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others. …the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us’ (LS 159). We always kept you, dear child, in our heartfelt actions.”

“Be the ancestor your descendants would be proud of.”

Winona LaDuke

Eco-friendlier options

Ethical companies produce a plethora of eco-friendly soaps, shampoos and conditioners available in bar form with zero plastic packaging. Our sisters and partners have been testing some out, and you can find a few they like on our Recommended Sustainable Products webpage. Of course, you can search the web and find myriad options for different hair types and preferences as well.

Take the Eco-Challenge

  • I will take an inventory of the self-care products I use and consider more sustainable alternatives. (Start by checking out our Recommended sustainable products list.)
  • I will purchase one or more bar soaps, shampoos and/or conditioners.
  • I will encourage one or more friends and family members to use soaps that do not come in single-use plastic packaging.
  • I will share this month’s Eco-Challenge with my faith community.

Spread the word

  • Leave a comment about how you’re taking the challenge below.
  • Invite others to take the May Eco-Challenge by sharing our post on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

1 thought on “Eco-Challenge: Ban plastic bottles from your bathroom”

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    Disclosure: In my head, “shampoo” and “conditioner” are not compatible with “bar”. But then I recall the day I learned about “liquid soap”. I promise to try a “bar” the next time I need to purchase shampoo.

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About us

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are a congregation of Catholic sisters. We, and those who share our charism and mission, are motivated in all things by our profound love of God and our dear neighbors. We seek to build communities and bridge divides between people. Since our first sisters gathered in 1650, our members have been called to “do all things of which women are capable.” The first sisters of our congregation arrived in St. Louis, Missouri in 1836, and we now have additional locations in St. Paul, Albany, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Japan and Peru. Today, we commit to respond boldly to injustice and dare to be prophetic.


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