Voice: Liquid soap is more popular these days than bars of soap, which are seen as a bit old-fashioned. According to recent market research, more than eighty per cent of us always buy liquid soap in a plastic bottle, while fewer than seventy per cent of consumers buy the solid stuff. And this last figure is getting lower each time research is done. Are the days of the bar of soap numbered?
Voice: Geri Lam doesn't think so. Two years ago, she set up a small artisan organic soap company that only produced soap in bars. What is it about a bar of soap that Geri thinks is special? Geri - the floor is yours!
Geri: Bars of soap have been around for more than three thousand years, so if, as the saying goes, it ain’t broke, why fix it? A bar of soap does its job perfectly well. It is totally unnecessary to turn soap into a sticky liquid and put it in a wasteful plastic bottle.
A bar of soap can be a beautiful object: beautiful to hold and beautiful to smell. Sniffing a plastic bottle doesn't give the same pleasure. You can get solid soap with different textures and different layers of colour. You can gift wrap bars of soap to give to friends. Wrapping up a cheap plastic bottle is not the same.
Of course, shower gel and a bar of soap do the same job, but it’s more satisfying to rub the dirt off yourself with a bar of soap than simple smearing gel over yourself. There is no pleasure in that. Whether you are taking a shower before you begin your day or, showering after a long day at work or school, a bar of soap in your hand, scrubbing away, actually makes you feel good as well as gets you clean.
We all know that less packaging is much better for the planet. All that plastic comes from somewhere and has to go somewhere when it has been used. What’s the point of putting soap in a plastic bottle when it can be bought in a simple paper wrapper?
Our bars of soap have no packaging at all. Why hide our beautiful lavender, olive and basil soaps in plastic, cardboard or even paper? Did you know that about sixty per cent of the cost of a bottle of liquid soap or shower gel goes on the packaging? And then you throw it away! You are throwing money away when you buy liquid soap.
You can hold a bar of soap in your hand and it works. With a plastic bottle, you have to fiddle around unlocking the pump, pump the gel out with one hand, and hold in the other, and you always end up squirting some gel on the floor. A solid bar of soap is much easier to use.
Voice: Thanks for that, Geri. Most interesting. I don't know about our listeners out there, but I am going to think about using solid soap from now on.