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Action alert

Eco-Challenge: Bars not bottles

 Patty Johnson, CSJ

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.

Ban plastic bottles from your bathroom

Have you considered buying bar soaps, shampoo and conditioner rather than liquid body wash, shampoo, and conditioner in plastic containers?

70 years of plastics innovation comes at an environmental cost. Did you know?

  • There have been 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics produced since 1950.
  • 70% of plastics have become waste, and 90% of plastics are still in existence.
  • Plastic containers might be recycled, but more than likely, they will become plastic pollution that is seeping into our environment, causing harm to our health and environment.
  • Packaging, including for items like body wash, shampoo, and conditioner, accounts for 45% of plastics and quickly becomes waste.

When we throw plastic away or even recycle it, it doesn’t disappear. If it is recyclable and makes it to a recycling center, it is usually downcycled- made into a less recyclable product. Most of it doesn’t get that far.

Just like with cancer, the plastics industry has known since 1966 that there was evidence of plastic pollution in animals. Since 2003, publicity about the garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean has helped bring the harmful impacts of plastic waste into public consciousness. The manufacturing of plastic containers for cosmetics can create dangerous health hazards for those workers in the petrochemical plants.

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 February Eco-Challenge by sharing our post on Facebook and/or Instagram.

3 thoughts on “Eco-Challenge: Bars not bottles”

  1. Avatar

    Bar products also make it easier to pack. You don’t need to put them in your little one-quart plastic bag and they weigh a little less than liquids, too.

  2. Avatar

    I use a shampoo bar from Trader Joe’s. I always use bar soap.
    On another note, I have switched my toothpaste to Tom’s of Maine. They have a recyclable tube#2. I called Crest, Proctor and Gamble, to ask why they can’t do a recyclable tube. The response was that they will have one at the end of 2025. I nicely stated that I will be using Tom’s until Crest is in a recyclable tube. I did see the toothpaste “pills” in an Eco-challenge but find them hard to use. So i was very excited to find out that Tom’s has a recyclable tube!

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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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